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BINDING  LISrJUL  1  5  1924 



BY  J.  C.  STOBART,  M.A. 


"  Mr.  Stohart  does  a  real  service  when  he  gives  the  reading  but 
non-expert  public  this  fine  volume,  embodying  the  latest  results  of 
research,  blending  them,  too,  into  as  agreeable  a  narrative  as  we 
have  met  with  for  a  long  while.  .  .  .  There  is  not  a  dull  line  in  his 
book.  He  has  plenty  of  humour,  as  a  writer  needs  must  have  who 
is  to  deal  with  men  from  the  human  standpoint.  .  .  .  It  is  beautifully 
produced,  and  the  plates,  both  in  colour  and  monochrome,  are  as 
numerous  and  well-chosen  as  they  are  striking  and  instructive." — 

"  Mr.  Stobart  has  produced  the  very  book  to  show  the  modern 
barbarian  the  meaning  of  Hellenism.  He  exhibits  the  latest  dis- 
coveries from  Cnossus  and  elsewhere,  the  new-found  masterpieces 
along  with  the  old.  He  criticises  and  appraises  the  newest  theories, 
ranging  from  the  influence  of  malaria  to  the  origins  of  drama.  He 
has  something  for  everybody.  .  .  .  The  book  is  nobly  illustrated  .  .  . 
no  such  collection  of  beautiful  things  of  this  kind  has  yet  been  placed 
before  the  English  public." — THE  SATURDAY  REVIEW. 

"  He  really  helps  to  make  ancient  Greece  a  living  reality ;  and  the 
illustrations,  a  conspicuous  feature  of  the  book,  are  good  and  well 
selected,  the  photographic  views  gaining  much  from  the  reproduc- 
tion on  a  dull-surfaced  paper." — TIMES. 

"  A  more  beautiful  book  than  this  has  rarely  been  printed.  .  .  . 
The  pictures  of  Greek  scenery,  sculpture,  vases,  etc.,  are  exceptionally 

"  No  better  guide  through  the  labyrinth  of  things  Hellenic  has 
appeared  in  our  day,  and  both  brush  and  camera  yield  of  their 
choicest  to  make  the  book  an  enduring  joy."- — DAILY  CHRONICLE. 

"  A  vivid  picture  of  a  wonderful  civilisation  which  should  fire  many 
to  further  studies." — SHEFFIELD  DAILY  TELEGRAPH. 


,     'lilt/11. 

,  ' 



A  Survey  of  Roman  Culture 
and  Civilisation  :  by 

J.  C.  Stobart,  M.A. 




3  Adam  Street,  Adelphi 

All  rights  reserved 









THIS  book  is  a  continuation  of  "The  Glory  that  was  Greece," 
written  with  the  same  purpose  and  from  the  same  point  of 

The  point  of  view  is  that  of  humanity  and  the  progress  of 
civilisation.  The  value  of  Rome's  contribution  to  the  lasting 
welfare  of  mankind  is  the  test  of  what  is  to  be  emphasised  or 
neglected.  Hence  the  instructed  reader  will  find  a  deliberate 
attempt  to  adjust  the  historical  balance  which  has,  I  venture  to 
think,  been  unfairly  deflected  by  excessive  deference  to  literary 
and  scholastic  traditions.  The  Roman  histories  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  were  wont  to  stop  short  with  the  Republic, 
because  "  Classical  Latin  "  ceased  with  Cicero  and  Ovid.  They 
followed  Livy  and  Tacitus  in  regarding  the  Republic  as  the 
hey-day  of  Roman  greatness,  and  the  Empire  as  merely  a  dis- 
tressing sequel  beginning  and  ending  in  tragedy.  From  the 
standpoint  of  civilisation  this  is  an  absurdity.  The  Republic 
was  a  mere  preface.  The  Republic  until  its  last  century  did 
nothing  for  the  world,  except  to  win  battles  whereby  the  road 
was  opened  for  the  subsequent  advance  of  civilisation.  Even 
the  stern  tenacity  of  the  Roman  defence  against  Hannibal, 
admirable  as  it  was,  can  only  be  called  superior  to  the  still 
more  heroic  defence  of  Jerusalem  by  the  Jews,  because  the 
former  was  successful  and  the  latter  failed.  From  the  Republican 
standpoint  Rome  is  immeasurably  inferior  to  Athens.  In 
short,  what  seemed  important  and  glorious  to  Livy  will  not 
necessarily  remain  so  after  the  lapse  of  nearly  two  thousand 
years.  Rome  is  so  vast  a  fact,  and  of  consequences  so  far- 
reaching,  that  every  generation  may  claim  a  share  in  interpreting 



her  anew.  There  is  the  Rome  of  the  ecclesiastic,  of  the 
diplomat,  of  the  politician,  of  the  soldier,  of  the  economist. 
There  is  the  Rome  of  the  literary  scholar,  and  the  Rome  of 
the  archaeologist. 

It  is  wonderful  how  this  mighty  and  eternal  city  varies 
with  her  various  historians.  Diodorus  of  Sicily,  to  whom  we 
owe  most  of  her  early  history,  was  seeking  mainly  to  flatter 
the  claims  of  the  Romans  to  a  heroic  past.  Polybius,  the 
trained  Greek  politician  of  the  second  century  B.C.,  was  writing 
Roman  history  in  order  to  prove  to  his  fellow-Greeks  his 
theory  of  the  basis  of  political  success.  Livy  was  seeking 
a  solace  for  the  miseries  of  his  own  day  in  contemplating  the 
virtues  of  an  idealised  past.  Tacitus,  during  an  interval  of 
mitigated  despotism,  strove  to  exhibit  the  crimes  and  follies  of 
autocracy.  These  were  both  rhetoricians,  trained  in  the 
school  of  Greek  democratic  oratory.  Edward  Gibbon,  too 
(I  write  as  one  who  cannot  change  trains  at  Lausanne  without 
emotion),  saw  the  Empire  from  the  standpoint  of  eighteenth- 
century  liberalism  and  materialism.  Theodor  Mommsen  made 
Rome  the  setting  for  his  Bismarckian  Caesarism,  and  finally, 
M.  Boissier  has  enlivened  her  by  peopling  her  streets  with 
Parisians.  It  is,  in  fact,  difficult  to  depict  so  huge  a  landscape 
without  taking  and  revealing  an  individual  point  of  view. 
There  is  always  something  fresh  to  see  even  in  the  much- 
thumbed  records  of  Rome. 

Although  a  large  part  of  this  book  is  written  directly  from 
the  original  sources,  and  none  of  it  without  frequent  reference 
to  them,  it  is,  in  the  main,  frankly  a  derivative  history  intended 
for  readers  who  are  not  specialists.  Except  Pelham's  Outlines, 
which  are  almost  exclusively  political,  there  is  no  other  book 
in  English,  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  which  attempts  to  give  a 
view  of  the  whole  course  of  ancient  Roman  History  within 
the  limits  of  a  single  volume,  and  yet  the  Empire  without  the 
Republic  is  almost  as  incomplete  as  the  Republic  without  the 
Empire.  As  for  the  Empire,  although  nothing  can  supersede 
or  attempt  to  replace  The  Decline  and  Fall,  yet  the  scholar's 


outlook  on  the  history  of  the  Empire  has  been  greatly  changed 
since  Gibbon's  day  by  the  discovery  of  Pompeii  and  the  study 
of  inscriptions.  Therefore  while  I  fully  admit  my  obligations 
to  Gibbon  and  Mommsen  (as  well  as  to  Dill,  Pelham,  Bury, 
Haverfield,  Greenidge,  Warde  Fowler,  Cruttwell,  Sellar, 
Walters,  Rice  Holmes,  and  Mrs.  Strong,  and  to  Ferrero,  Pais, 
Boissier,  Seeck,  Bernheim,  Mau,  Becker,  and  Friedlander)  this 
book  professes  to  be  something  more  than  a  compilation, 
because  it  has  a  point  of  view  of  its  own. 

The  pictures  are  an  integral  part  of  my  scheme.  It  is  not 
possible  with  Rome,  as  it  was  with  Greece,  to  let  pictures  and 
statues  take  the  place  of  wars  and  treaties.  Wars  and  treaties 
are  an  essential  part  of  the  Grandeur  of  Rome.  They  should 
have  a  larger  place  here,  were  they  less  well  known,  and  were 
there  less  need  to  redress  a  balance.  But  the  pictures  are 
chosen  so  that  the  reader's  eye  may  be  able  to  gather  its  own 
impression  of  the  Roman  genius.  When  the  Roman  took  pen 
in  hand  he  was  usually  more  than  half  a  Greek,  but  sometimes 
in  his  handling  of  bricks  and  mortar  he  revealed  himself.  For 
this  reason — and  because  I  must  confess  not  to  be  a  convinced 
admirer  of  "Roman  Art" — there  is  an  attempt  to  make  the 
illustrations  convey  an  impression  of  grand  building,  vast,  solid, 
and  utilitarian,  rather  than  of  finished  sculpture  by  Greek 
hands.  Pictures  can  produce  this  impression  far  more  power- 
fully than  words.  Standing  in  the  Colosseum  or  before  the 
solid  masonry  of  the  Porta  Nigra  at  Trier,  one  has  seemed  to 
come  far  closer  to  the  heart  of  the  essential  Roman  than  ever 
in  reading  Vergil  or  Horace.  The  best  Roman  portraits  are 
strangely  illuminating. 

I  have  to  acknowledge  with  gratitude  the  permission  given 
me  by  the  Director  of  the  Koniglichen  Messbildanstalt  of  the 
Royal  Museum  at  Berlin  to  reproduce  four  of  the  magnificent 
photographs  of  Dr.  O.  Puchstein's  discoveries  at  Ba'albek.  I 
am  indebted  also  to  Herr  Georg  Reimer,  of  Berlin,  for  allowing 
me  to  reproduce  four  of  the  complete  series  of  Reliefs  from 
Trajan's  Column  published  by  him  in  heliogravure  under  the 



care  of  Professor  Cichorius.  The  coloured  plate  of  the  interior 
of  the  House  of  Livia  is  reproduced  by  permission  of  the 
German  Archaeological  Institute  from  Luckenbach's  Kunst 
und  Geschichte  (grosse  Ausgabe,  erster  Teil);  and  from  the 
same  work  I  have  been  allowed  to  reproduce  the  reconstruc- 
tion of  the  Roman  Forum  in  the  time  of  Caesar.  Professor 
Garstang  has  kindly  supplied  a  photograph,  with  permission  to 
reproduce  of  the  bronze  head  of  Augustus  discovered  by  him  at 
Meroe  and  recently  presented  to  the  British  Museum.  The 
Cambridge  University  Press  has  allowed  me  to  give  two 
pictures  from  Prof.  Ridgeway's  Early  Age  of  Greece ;  and  the 
photograph  of  the  Alcantara  Bridge  was  kindly  supplied  by  Sr. 
D.  Miguel  Utrillo,  of  Barcelona.  The  majority  of  photographs 
have  been  supplied  by  Messrs.  W.  A.  Mansell  and  Co. ;  but 
for  many  subjects,  especially  of  Roman  remains  outside  Italy, 
I  must  acknowledge  my  indebtedness  to  a  number  of  amateur 
photographers,  who  not  only  avoid  the  hackneyed  point  of  view 
but  also  achieve  a  high  level  of  technique.  Sir  Alexander 
Binnie  has  kindly  permitted  the  inclusion  of  eight  photographs 
and  Mr.  C.  T.  Carr  of  four ;  while  I  must  also  make  acknow- 
ledgment to  Miss  Carr,  Mr.  R.  C.  Smith,  and  Miss  K.  P.  Blair. 
As  before,  I  am  much  indebted  to  Mr.  Arnold  Gomme  for 
his  assistance  with  the  proofs. 

J.  C.  S. 








LIGION :  LAW  16 



III.  THE     LAST     CENTURY     OF     THE 












INDEX  329 



The  cameo  on  the  front  cover  of  this  volume  is  from  a 
sardonyx  head  of  Germanicus  in  the  Carlisle  collection. 




Engraved  by  Emery  Walker  from  a  photograph  by  Bruckmann  of  the 
original  in  the  Glyptothek,  Munich.  An  idealised  portrait  of  the 
emperor  in  middle  life.  He  wears  the  corona  civica.  See  p.  169 


"  CLYTIE  "  248 

Engraved  by  Emery  Walker  from  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the 
original  marble  in  the  British  Museum.  An  idealised  portrait-bust  of 
a  lady  of  the  imperial  family,  possibly  Antonia,  the  work  of  a  Greek 
artist  of  the  Augustan  Age.  The  name  "  Clytie  "  has  no  authority  :  the 
frame  of  petals  is  purely  decorative 




From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  view  is  taken  from  the  Capitol, 
looking  S.E.  at  the  Arch  of  Titus,  on  the  left  of  which  part  of  the 
Colosseum  is  visible.  The  background  on  the  right  is  filled  by  the 
Palatine  Hill  and  the  substructures  of  Caligula's  Palace,  in  front  of  which 
the  walls  of  the  Temple  of  Augustus  are  visible.  To  the  right  of  the 
middle  are  three  columns  and  part  of  the  entablature  of  the  Temple  of 
Castor.  In  the  centre  is  the  Column  of  Phocas.  The  foreground  is 
occupied  by  the  Arch  of  Severus  (1.)  the  Temple  of  Saturn  (r.)  and  two 
Corinthian  columns  of  the  Temple  of  Vespasian 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  ruined  arches  belonged  to  the 
Aqueduct  of  Claudius.  See  p.  293 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  Modern  view  showing  a  typical 
hill-town  or  arx.  Spoletium  is  chiefly  famous  in  ancient  history  for  its 
gallant  repulse  of  Hannibal  in  217  B.C. 





From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  bronze  in  the  Palace  of 
the  Conservatori,  Rome.  The  wolf  herself  is  ancient,  probably  of 
Etruscan  workmanship.  See  p.  18 

5  (Fig.  i)  ARCHAIC  BRONZE  :  "  PAN  "  zo 

Primitive  Etruscan  work.     A  horned  and  bearded  god 

From  photographs  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  originals  in  the  British 
Museum,  showing  the  development  of  Etruscan  bronze-work 


Drawn  from  Vase  F.  488  in  the  Etruscan  Room,  British  Museum.  A 
curiously  debased  design,  which  like  much  of  Etruscan  art  suggests 
unintelligent  copying  of  Greek  models 


From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  original  in  the  Terra-cotta 
Room,  British  Museum.  The  reader  will  notice  the  close  resemblance 
of  this  work,  particularly  the  relief  depicting  the  battle  and  the  mourners, 
to  Greek  relief -work  of  the  sixth  century  B.C. 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  remains  of  Roman  tombs  may  be 
seen  on  each  side  of  the  road 


|  From  photographs  by  C.  T.  Carr.  The  scene  of  the  famous  battle  of 
217  B.C.,  in  which  Hannibal  ambushed  the  Roman  army  on  the  shores 
of  the  lake 


TORE "]  56 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  original  bronze  statue  in  the 
Archaeological  Museum,  Florence.  One  of  the  rare  examples  of  early 
republican  portraiture,  found  near  Lake  Trasimene,  a  statue  of  Aulus 
Metilius  (unknown  to  history)  in  the  guise  of  an  orator.  It  is  assigned 
to  the  end  of  the  third  century  B.C.,  and  is  said  to  represent  the  transition 
between  Etruscan  and  Roman  portraiture.  I  think,  however,  that  it 
would  be  true  to  describe  it  as  a  Roman  head,  probably  copied  from  a 
death-mask,  upon  a  Greek  body.  Where  is  the  Etruscan  element  ? 


From  a  photograph  by  Brogi  of  the  original  bronze  in  the  Naples 
Museum.  The  authenticity  of  the  portrait  cannot  be  guaranteed,  but 
it  is  a  fine  example  of  Republican  portraiture 


Possibly  imported  from  Greece 

(Fig.  2)  ROMAN    LEGIONARY    OF    THE    EMPIRE :      BRONZE 

From  photographs  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  originals  in  the  British 
Museum.  These  two  bronze  statuettes  show  the  essential  similarity  of 
Roman  and  Etruscan  (or  Greek)  armour,  which  consists  mainly  of  a 
cuirass  of  leather  plated  with  metal 





From  photographs  of  the  original  in  the  British  Museum.  The  scabbard 
is  in  the  scale  of  I  :  4.  The  sword  was  only  21  in.  long  and  z£  in.  at 
the  greatest  breadth.  It  was  found  at  Mainz.  The  scabbard  is  of  wood 
ornamented  with  plates  of  silver-gilt.  At  the  top  is  a  relief  showing 
Tiberius  welcoming  Germanicus  on  his  victorious  return  from  Germany 
(A.D.  17).  In  the  centre  is  a  portrait  medallion  of  Tiberius.  The 
relief  at  the  bottom  indicates  the  return  of  the  standards  of  Varus  to  a 
Roman  temple.  Below  is  an  Amazon  armed  with  the  German  battle-axe 


From  a  photograph  by  Tryde  of  the  original  marble  in  the  Jacobsen 
collection  at  Copenhagen.  There  is  no  sufficient  reason  to  doubt  the 
authenticity  of  this  famous  portrait  of  Pompey  the  Great.  It  closely 
resembles  a  beautiful  gem  in  the  Chatsworth  collection 

15  BUST  OF  CICERO  108 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  original  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  A  fine  ancient  portrait ;  but  its  authenticity  cannot  be 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  Erected  in  78  B.C.  Notice  the 
Ionic  columns  used  purely  as  ornament 


From  a  photograph  by  Alinari.  Commonly  known  as  "  The  Temple 
of  the  Sibyl,"  but  more  properly  assigned  to  Vesta.  This  is  considered 
to  be  work  of  about  80  B.C.  The  style  is  Corinthian 

18  (Fig.  i)  VENUS  GENETRIX  120 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  statue  in  the  Louvre.  Described 
on  p.  156 

(Fig.  2)  THE  MEDICI  VENUS 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  statue  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  This  celebrated  and  once  admired  statue  is  now  regarded  as 
typical  of  the  degenerate  Greek  work  produced  for  the  Roman  market. 
The  technique  is  still  admirable 

19  JULIUS  CESAR  136 

From  a  photograph  by  the  Graphic  Gesellschaft  of  the  original  black 
basalt  head  in  the  Berlin  Museum.  Its  antiquity  is  not  above 

20  (Fig.  i)  BUST  OF  JULIUS  CAESAR  138 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  in  the  Vatican,  Rome. 
A  fine  portrait,  undoubtedly  a  close  copy  of  an  authentic  original,  as  is 
the  equally  famous  example  in  the  British  Museum 

(Fig.  2)  BUST  OF  BRUTUS 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  bust  in  the  Capitoline  Museum, 
Rome.  The  authenticity  of  this  has  been  doubted,  but  on  insufficient 
grounds.  Evidently  a  work  of  about  the  same  period  as  the  "  Young 
Augustus  "  (plate  25) 





Plate  from  "  The  Art  of  the  Romans  "  by  H.  B.  Walters,  by  kind 
permission  of  Messrs.  Methuen  &  Co.  Arretine  pottery  takes  its  name 
from  Arretium  (Arezzo),  the  chief  centre  of  this  native  Italian  industry. 
It  is  distinguished  by  the  fine  crimson  clay  of  which  it  is  made.  The 
designs  stamped  in  relief  from  moulds  are  generally  imitated  from 
Greek  metal-work  or  Samian  ware.  The  pieces  are  seldom  more  than 
6  in.'  in^height 


1.  Coin  of  Pontus,  with  head  of  Mithradates  the  Great.     See  pp.  103, 


2.  Silver  Tetradrachm,  with  heads  of  Antony   and   Cleopatra.    See 

pp.  122,  155 

3.  Denarius  of  Sulla 

Rev .  Q.  Pompeius  Rufus,  consul  with  Sulla  in  88  B.C. 

4.  Denarius  of  Julius  Caesar 

Rev.  figure  of  Victory,  with  name  of  L.  ./Emilius  Buca,  triumvir  of 
the  mint 

5.  Coin  of  Tiberius,  with  head  of  Livia  and  inscription  SALVS  AVGVSTA 


Collotype  plate  from  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  original  in 
the  Gem  Room,  British  Museum.  Probably  the  work  of  Dioscorides, 
who  had  the  exclusive  right  of  portraying  Augustus 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  statue  in  the  Vatican,  Rome. 
The  emperor  is  depicted  as  a  triumphant  general,  haranguing  his  troops. 
In  the  centre  of  the  breastplate  is  a  Parthian  humbly  surrendering  the 
standards  to  a  Roman  soldier 

25  AUGUSTUS  AS  A  YOUTH  150 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  bust  in  the  Vatican,  Rome.  A 
distinctly  Greek  portrait,  possibly  taken  during  his  early  days  at 
Apollonia ;  an  authentic  original  bust 


From  a  photograph  supplied  by  Prof.  Garstang  of  the  original  bronze, 
discovered  by  him  in  1910,  at  Meroe  in  Egypt,  and  since  presented  to 
the  British  Museum 


From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  bust  in  the  UfHzi  Gallery, 
Florence.  The  design  of  the  bust  is  inconsistent  with  the  belief  that 
this  is  a  contemporary  portrait.  But  it  resembles  the  portraits  of  the 
general  on  the  coins 

28  (Fig.  i)  ROMAN  BRIDGE  AT  RIMINI  156 

This  fine  marble  bridge  was  begun  by  Augustus  and  completed  by 
Tiberius.     Ariminum  was  the  northern  terminus  of  the  great  Flaminian 

From  photographs  by  C.  T.  Carr.  The  amphitheatre  was  erected  by 
Diocletian  about  A.D.  290  and  was  restored  by  Napoleon.  It  would 




contain  about  20,000  spectators.  Verona  was  the  capital  under 
Theodoric  the  Ostrogoth 


This  is  part  of  the  great  aqueduct  which  supplied  Nismeswith  water. 
The  bridge  has  a  span  of  880  feet  across  the  valley  of  the  Garden.  The 
lower  tiers  are  built  of  stone  without  mortar  or  cement  of  any 

30  (Fig.  i)  INTERIOR  OF  ROMAN  TEMPLE,  NISMES  160 

The  amphitheatre  at  Nismes  is  larger  than  that  of  Verona.  There  are 
sixty  arches  on  the  ground  and  first  floors,  with  larger  apertures  at  the 
four  cardinal  points 

31  THE  ARENA,  NISMES  162 

Notice  the  consoles  in  the  attic  story.  These  are  pierced  with  round 
holes  to  contain  the  poles  which  once  supported  an  awning  for  the 
protection  of  the  spectators  from  the  heat 

32  (Fig.  i)  TRIUMPHAL  ARCH,  ST.  REMY,  ARLES  164 

Aries  (Arelate)  was  one  of  the  chief  towns  of  Gallia  Narbonensis,  and  a 
colony  of  Augustus.  The  upper  part  of  the  arch  has  perished.  The 
sculptures  represent  chained  captives.  There  is  no  inscription  and 
the  date  of  the  monument  is  uncertain 


This  mausoleum  was  erected  by  three  brothers  Julius  to  the  memory 

of  their  parents.     Thousands  of  Gauls  took  the  name  of  Julius  in  honour 

of  Caesar  and  Augustus.     The  style,  which  is  essentially  Grzco-Roman, 

is  appropriate  to  the  period  of  Augustus.     The  reliefs  again  represent 


Plates  29-32  are  from  photographs  taken  by  Sir  Alexander  Binnie 

33  (Fig.  i)  ARCH  OF  MARIUS,  ORANGE  166 

From  a  photograph  by  Neurdein.  Apparently  erected  to  the  memory 
of  C.  Marius,  who  defeated  the  Teutons  at  Aquae  Sextias  in  102  B.C. 
The  neighbourhood  of  Orange  (Arausio)  was  the  scene  of  a  great  Roman 
defeat  three  years  earlier.  But  the  style  of  the  monument  points  to  a 
date  at  least  a  century  later.  The  style  of  the  reliefs  is  dated  by  the 
best  authorities  in  the  reign  of  Tiberius.  The  name  of  the  sculptor, 
Boudillus,  appears  to  be  Gallic 

(Fig.  2)  S.  LORENZO,  MILAN 

From  a  photograph  by  Brogi.  Remains  of  a  handsome  Corinthian 
colonnade  which  formerly  belonged  to  the  palace  of  Maximian.  In  the 
fourth  century  A.D.,  Mediolanum  was  frequently  a  place  of  imperial 
residence.  In  this  period  Milan  was  larger  than  Rome 


From  a  photograph  by  Alinari.  This  famous  statue,  which  stands  in 
the  Loggia  dei  Lanzi,  at  Florence,  is  popularly  called  after  the  wife  of 
Arminius,  who  died  in  exile  at  Ravenna.  It  is  probably  a  typical 
Teutonic  captive  and  very  possibly  occupied  a  place  in  the  niche  of  a 
triumphal  arch.  Mrs.  Strong  assigns  it  to  the  period  of  Trajan 

b  xvii 



35  (Fig.  i)  ALTAR  OF  THE  LARES  OF  AUGUSTUS  172 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  original  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  Augustus  introduced  Caesar-worship  into  Rome  by  means  of 
these  altars  to  the  Lares  (household  gods)  and  the  Genius  of  Augustus. 
This  altar  dates  from  A.D.  2.  Augustus  is  in  the  centre,  Livia  his  wife  to 
the  right,  and  Gaius  or  Lucius  Caesar  to  the  left.  Mrs.  Strong  describes 
these  reliefs  as  "  a  series  of  singular  charm  " 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  in  the  Villa  Medici, 
Rome.  An  earlier  example  of  the  favourite  sacrificial  theme.  The 
artist  has  sacrificed,  as  usual,  the  hinder  part  of  his  victim  to  his  desire 
to  introduce  as  many  as  possible  of  the  portrait  studies.  The  relief 
has  been  much  and  badly  restored 

36  THE  "TELLUS  "  GROUP,  ARA  PACIS  174 

From  a  photograph  by  Brogi  of  the  original  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  Discussed  on  pp.  244-245 

37  RELIEF,  ARA  PACIS  176 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  in  the  Museo  delle 
Terme,  Rome.  The  scene  is  a  sacrifice.  The  majestic  bearded  figure  on 
the  right  is  perhaps  emblematical  of  the  senate — one  of  the  finest  con- 
ceptions of  Graeco-Roman  art  and  little  inferior  to  the  elders  on  the 
Parthenon  frieze.  Above  the  attendants  on  the  left  is  a  small  shrine 
of  the  Penates 


1.  A  silver  mirror-case  of  exquisite  design  :    the  central  medallion 
represents  Leda  and  the  swan 

2.  One  of  the  beautiful  examples  of  Augustan  art  in  which  natural 
forms  are  used  with  brilliant  decorative  effect 

From  photographs  by  Giraudon  of  the  originals  in  the  Louvre 

39  (Fig.  i)  GERMANICUS  180 

Sardonyx  cameo  from  the  Carlisle  collection.  Photograph  by 
Mansell  &  Co. 


Photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  Sardonyx  cameo  probably  by  Dioscorides, 

A.D.  13 

Below  :  German  captives  and  Roman  soldiers  erecting  a  trophy 
Above :  Augustus  and  Roma  enthroned.  Behind  them  are  Earth,  Ocean, 
and  (f)  the  World,  who  is  crowning  him  with  the  corona  civica.  Behind 
his  head  is  his  lucky  sign — the  constellation  of  Capricornus.  Tiberius 
escorted  by  a  Victory  is  stepping  out  of  his  triumphal  chariot  and 
Germanicus  stands  between 


From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  original  in  the  Bibliotheque 
Nationale,  Paris.  The  largest  and  finest  sardonyx  cameo  in  existence. 
It  is  cut  in  five  layers  of  the  stone  so  that  wonderful  effects  of  tinting 
are  produced,  sometimes  at  the  expense  of  the  modelling.  Tiberius  and 
his  mother  Livia  occupy  the  centre.  Germanicus  and  his  mother 
Antonia  stand  before  him.  The  figures  to  the  left  may  be  Gaius 




(Caligula)  and  the  wife  of  Germanicus.  Behind  the  throne  Drusus  is 
looking  up  to  heaven,  where  the  deified  Augustus  floats,  surrounded  by 
allegorical  figures.  Below  are  barbarian  captives 

41  (Figs,  i  and  3)  STUCCO  RELIEFS  184 

From  photographs  by  Anderson  of  the  originals  in  the  National  Museum, 
Rome.  Much  of  the  ornamentation  of  Roman  villas  was  in  stucco  or 
terra-cotta  taken  from  the  mould  and  often  tinted.  Both  the  flying 
Victory  and  the  Bacchic  relief  showing  a  drunken  Silenus  are  extremely 
graceful  specimens  of  the  art,  both  essentially  Greek 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  fragment  in  the  Museo  delle 
Terme,  Rome.  A  fine  example  of  the  naturalistic  ornament  of  the 
Augustan  period 

42  (Fig.  i)  FRAGMENT  OF  AUGUSTAN  ALTAR  188 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  in  the  Museo  delle 
Terme,  Rome.     Quoted  by  Wickhoff  as  "  a  triumph  of  the  Augustan 
illusionist  style  "  :    a  design  of  plane-leaves,  admirable  in  fidelity  to 
nature.     Observe  the  rich  mouldings  of  the  framework 
(Fig.  2)  ROMAN  RELIEF 

From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  original  in  the  British 
Museum.  From  the  tomb  of  a  poet.  The  Muse  stands  before  him 
holding  a  tragic  mask 


From  a  photograph  by  Giraudon  of  the  original  in  the  Louvre.  The 
inscription  shows  that  this  altar  was  dedicated  to  the  spirits  of  Amemptus, 
afreedman  of  the  Empress  Livia.  It  belongs  therefore  to  about  A.D.  25. 
From  the  types  of  ornament  employed  one  may  conjecture  that 
Amemptus  was  a  Greek  actor  and  musician.  The  decorative  effect  is 
very  charming  and  the  detail  most  beautifully  worked  out 

44  (Fig.  i)  THE  TEMPLE  OF  SATURN,  FORUM,  ROME  192 

Eight   Ionic  unfluted  columns  with  part  of  the  entablature.     The 
columns  stand  upon  a  lofty  base.     The  Temple  of  Saturn,  which  con- 
tained the  treasury  of  the  senate,  was  rebuilt  in  42  B.C. 

From  photographs  by  R.  C.  Smith.  The  most  complete  example  of  the 
round  temple  still  existing,  the  Temple  of  Vesta  in  the  Forum  having 
disappeared.  This  is  probably  a  temple  of  "  Mother  Dawn."  The 
five  Corinthian  columns  of  Pentelic  marble  were  probably  imported 
from  Greece.  Most  authorities  assign  it  to  the  Augustan  restoration, 
but  others  place  it  among  the  earliest  Republican  works.  The  tiled  . 
roof  is  of  course  modern,  and  somewhat  spoils  its  effect.  This  little 
temple  stood  in  the  Forum  Boarium  (cattle  market) 


From  photographs  by  Anderson  and  Brogi.     See  p.  251 


From  a  photograph  kindly  supplied  by  Sir  Alexander  Binnie.  Perhaps 
the  finest,  certainly  the  most  complete  example  of  Grxco-Roman 
architecture.  The  style  is  Corinthian,  but  characteristic  Roman 




developments  are  the  high  podium  or  base,  and  the  fact  that  the  sur- 
rounding peristyle  is  "  engaged  "  or  attached  to  the  wall  except  in 
front  (pseudo-peripteral).  This  temple  was  dedicated  to  M.  Aurelius 
and  L.  Verus.  It  was  surrounded  by  an  open  space  and  then  a 
Corinthian  colonnade.  Nismes,  once  the  centre  of  a  flourishing  trade  in 
cheese,  is  especially  rich  in  Roman  remains 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  theatre,  built  by  Augustus  in 
13  B.C.  in  memory  of  his  ill-fated  nephew,  was  constructed  in  three 
tiers,  Doric,  Ionic,  and  Corinthian.  The  upper  story  has  disappeared, 
and  the  elevation  of  the  ground  floor  has  been  spoilt  by  the. rise  in  the 
level  of  the  ground 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  splendid  cortile  of  the  Farnese 
Palace,  designed  by  Michael  Angelo,  is  copied  from  the  Theatre  of 
Marcellus,  exhibiting  the  same  succession  of  orders.  The  juxtaposition 
of  these  two  plates  should  assist  the  reader's  imagination  to  re-create 
the  original  splendours  of  Roman  architecture  from  the  existing 

49  (Fig.  i)  COLONNADE  OF  OCTAVIA  204 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  Erected  by  Augustus  in  honour  of 
his  beloved  sister,  who  was  married  first  to  M.  Marcellus  then  to 
M.  Antony.  She  was  the  mother  of  Marcellus,  great-grandmother  of 
Nero  and  Caligula.  She  died  in  1 1  B.C.  The  colonnade  was  probably 
built  some  years  before  her  death.  It  enclosed  the  temples  of  Jupiter 
Stator  and  Juno ;  it  also  contained  a  public  library  and  a  senate-house 
which  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  the  reign  of  Titus 


From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  original  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  A  sacrifice,  probably  a  work  of  the  time  of  Domitian. 
The  heads,  most  of  them  portraits,  are  of  admirable  execution,  but  the 
overcrowded  design  is  unpleasing.  The  architectural  background  is 
typical  of  the  Flavian  period.  This  slab  was  used  by  Raphael  in  his 
cartoon  of  Paul  and  Barnabas  at  Lystra 


*•  Nero  5.  Marcus  Aurelius 

2-  Trajan  6.  Domitian 

3.  Vespasian  7.  Vitellius 

4.  Hadrian  8.  Galba 
From  originals  in  the  British  Museum 



From  a  photograph  by  Gibson  &  Son.     See  pp.  261-262 


From  a  photograph  by  Frith.     An  example  of  military  architecture, 
truly  Roman  in  character.     Probably  dates  from  the  time  of  Gallienus 
(A.D.  260) 




On  the  left,  the  emperor  surrounded  by  his  staff  is  haranguing  his 
troops.  Observe  how  the  ranks  of  the  army  are  portrayed  in  file.  On 
the  right,  fortifications  are  being  constructed  (Cichorius,  plate  xi) 


On  the  left,  horses  are  being  transported  across  the  Danube  ;  Trajan  is 
seen  steering  his  galley,  sheltered  by  a  canopy.  On  the  right  he  is 
landing  at  the  gates  of  a  Roman  town  on  the  river  banks.  The  temples 
are  visible  within  the  walls  (Cichorius,  plate  xxvi) 


A  cavalry  battle,  in  which  the  Romans  are  charging  the  mail-clad 
Sarmatians.  The  reader  will  notice  the  resemblance  between  the 
latter  and  the  Norman  knights  of  the  Bayeux  tapestry  (Cichorius, 
plate  xxviii) 


On  the  left  the  Romans,  in  testudo  formation,  are  attacking  a  Dacian 
fortress.  In  the  centre  Trajan  is  receiving  the  heads  of  the  defeated 
enemy  (Cichorius,  plate  li) 

Four  collotype  plates,  reproduced  by  special  permission  from  Prof. 
Cichorius's  "  Die  Reliefs  der  Traianssaule  "  (Berlin,  Georg  Reimer, 
1896).  Photographs  by  Donald  Macbeth 

57  (Fig.  i)  RELIEF,  FROM  A  SARCOPHAGUS  224 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  original  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery, 
Florence.  An  example  of  "  continuous  narration  "  in  relief-work. 
The  sarcophagus  is  ornamented  with  typical  scenes  in  the  life  of  a 
Roman  gentleman — the  chase,  the  greeting  by  his  slaves,  sacrifice, 
marriage.  The  design  is  described  as  "  subtly  interwoven "  or 
"  fatiguing  and  confused  "  according  to  the  taste  of  the  onlooker 

(Fig.  2)  ROMAN  AND  DACIAN 

From  a  photograph  by  G;raudon  of  the  original  relief  in  the  Louvre. 
The  source  of  this  slab  is  unknown  ;  it  evidently  belongs  to  the  begin- 
ning of  the  second  century  A.D.,  and  refers  to  the  Dacian  Wars  of 
Trajan,  or  possibly  of  Domitian.  The  contrast  between  the  proud 
calm  Roman  and  the  wild  barbarian  is  very  fine,  and  recalls  similar 
contrasts  in  Greek  sculpture.  In  the  background  a  Dacian  hut  and  an 
oak-tree  are  seen 


From  a  photograph  by  Brogi.  Shows  the  emblems  captured  in 
Jerusalem  (A.D.  70)  being  carried  in  triumph  at  Rome.  We  can  dis- 
tinguish the  seven-branched  candlestick,  the  table  for  the  show-bread 
and  the  Sacred  Trumpets.  The  tablets  were  inscribed  with  the  names 
of  captured  cities 


EAST)  230 

From  a  photograph  by  Donald  Macbeth  of  plate  xxvi  in  Robert 
Wood's  "  Ruins  of  Palmyra,"  1753.  The  city  of  Palmyra,  traditionally 
founded  by  Solomon,  at  a  meeting-point  of  the  Syrian  caravan  routes, 
first  rose  into  prominence  in  the  time  of  Gallienus,  when  Odenathus,  its 




Saracen  prince,  was  acknowledged  by  the  emperor  as  "  Augustus," 
i.e.  a  colleague  in  the  imperial  power.  After  his  assassination  his 
widow  Zenobia  succeeded  to  his  power  and  ruled  magnificently  as 
Queen  of  the  East  until  she  was  defeated  and  made  captive  by  Aurelian. 
The  architectural  remains  are  Corinthian  in  style,  embellished  with 
meaningless  oriental  ornament 


Heliopolis  or  Ba'albek  was  the  centre  of  a  fertile  region  of  Ccele-Syria 
on  the  slopes  of  Anti-Lebanon.  It  was  always  a  centre  of  Baal  or  Sun 
worship,  it  was  a  city  of  priests  and  its  oracle  attracted  great  renown  in 
the  second  century  A.D.  when  it  was  consulted  by  Trajan.  Antoninus 
Pius  built  the  great  Temple  of  Zeus  (Jupiter),  one  of  the  wonders  of  the 
world.  The  worship  was  rather  that  of  Baal  than  of  Zeus,  and  oriental 
in  character.  It  included  the  cult  of  conical  stones  such  as  that  brought 
to  Rome  by  Elagabalus.  The  architecture  is  of  the  most  sumptuous 
Corinthian  style,  with  some  oriental  modifications 


Here  we  observe  the  oriental  round  arch  forming  the  lowest  course. 
The  material  of  the  buildings  is  white  granite  with  decorations  of  rough 
local  marble 


Observe  the  rather  effective  juxtaposition  of  fluted  and  unfluted  columns 


This  small  circular  temple  is  of  a  style  without  parallel  in  antiquity. 
The  nature  of  the  cult  is  unknown 

The  last  four  plates  are  reproduced  by  special  permission  of  the  Director 
of  the  Royal  Museum,  Berlin,  from  photographs  supplied  by  the 
Koniglichen  Messbildanstalt.  They  are  plates  xvii,  xxi,  zxii,  and  TTT 
respectively,  in  Puchstein  and  Von  Lupke's  "  Ba'albek,"  published  for 
the  German  Government  by  G.  Reimer,  Berlin 

64  (Fig.  i)  TIMGAD  :  THE  CAPITOL  240 

Timgad  (Thamugadi)  was  founded  by  Trajan  as  a  Roman  colony  in 
A.D.  loo.  It  is  on  the  edge  of  the  Sahara  in  the  ancient  province  of 
Numidia.  It  has  recently  been  explored  by  the  French.  The  photo- 
graph shows  the  Capitol  raised  on  an  artificial  terrace.  Two  of  the 
Corinthian  columns  have  been  re-erected 


A  view  of  the  main  street,  spanned  by  a  triumphal  arch  in  honour  of 
Trajan.  The  ruts  of  the  carriage-wheels  are  still  visible  as  at  Pompeii. 
From  photographs  by  Miss  K.  P.  Blair 


From  a  photograph  by  d'Agostino.  The  new  street  revealed  by  the 
most  recent  excavations  of  Prof.  Spinazzola.  The  photograph  shows  us 
a  "  hot-wine  shop  "  with  the  bar  and  the  wine-jars 


From  a  photograph  by  Abeniacar.  Another  of  the  most  recent  finds, 
a  fresco  of  the  Twelve  Gods 




67  (Fig.  i)  THE  EMPEROR  DECIUS  246 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  bust  in  the  Capitoline  Museum, 
Rome.  A  splendid  example  of  the  realistic  portraiture  in  the  third 
century  A.D. 


From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  bust  in  the  British  Museum. 
All  the  portraits  of  the  virtuous  philosopher  agree  in  producing  this 
aspect  of  tonsorial  prettiness  which  belies  the  character  of  a  manly  and 
vigorous  prince 

68  (Fig.  i)  THE  EMPEROR  CARACALLA  250 

From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  bust  in  the  British 


From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  bust  in  the  British  Museum 


From  photographs  by  Anderson  of  the  originals  in  the  Vatican,  Rome 

(Fig.  i)  WARRIORS 

Represents  a  military  review.  The  infantrymen  with  their  standards 
are  grouped  in  the  centre,  while  the  emperor  leads  a  procession  of  the 
cavalry  with  their  vexilla,  who  march  past  with  what  Mrs.  Strong 
describes  as  a  "  fine  and  pleasing  movement."  Discussed  on  p.  292 


Antoninus  and  his  less  virtuous  consort  are  being  borne  up  to  heaven  on 
the  back  of  Fame  or  the  Genius.  The  youth  reclining  below  bears  the 
obelisk  of  Augustus  to  indicate  that  he  personifies  the  Campus  Martius. 
The  figure  on  the  right  is  Rome.  The  composition  of  the  scene 
displays  a  ludicrous  want  of  imagination 


From  photographs  by  Anderson.    See  p.  293 

71  (Fig.  i)  THE  ARCH  OF  TITUS,  ROME  258 

See  p.  293 


The  Arch  of  Constantine  is  adorned  with  borrowed  reliefs,  mainly  from 
the  Forum  of  Trajan.  It  is  the  best  preserved  of  the  Roman  arches. 
From  photographs  by  R.  C.  Smith 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  Described  on  p.  293.  In  the  fore- 
ground is  the  ruined  apse  of  the  Temple  of  Venus  and  Rome,  built  by 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  great  Forum  of  Trajan  was 
constructed  by  the  Greek  architect  Apollodorus  between  A.D.  ill  and 
114.  The  base  of  the  column  formed  a  tomb  destined  to  contain 
the  conqueror's  ashes.  At  the  top  was  his  statue,  now  replaced  by  an 
image  of  St.  Peter.  The  story  of  the  Dacian  war  is  told  on  the  spiral 
relief  about  I  metre  broad.  See  plates  53-56 





From  photographs  by  Anderson.  The  Antonine  Column  was  con- 
structed on  the  model  of  the  Column  of  Trajan,  seventy-five  years  later, 
and  thus  affords  an  insight  into  the  progress  of  relief  sculpture  at  Rome. 
The  later  work  shows  more  attempt  at  individual  expression,  not  always 
successful,  and  the  scenes  are  less  crowded.  They  depict  episodes  from 
the  German  and  Sarmatian  wars  of  A.D.  171-175,  (a)  represents  the 
decapitation  of  the  rebels  and  (b)  the  capture  of  a  German  village  :  the 
huts  are  being  burned  while  M.  Aurelius  serenely  superintends  an 

75  ANTINOUS  266 
(Fig.  i)  from  a  photograph  by  Giraudon  of  the  Mondragore  bust  in  the 


(Fig.  2)  from  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  bust  in  the  British 

The  significance  of  the  artistic  cult  of  Antinous  in  the  age  of  Hadrian  is 
discussed  on  p.  293.  It  is  probably  only  the  diffidence  of  our  native 
archaeologists  which  has  allowed  the  colossal  Mondragore  bust  its 
supremacy.  The  British  Museum  portrait  represents  him  younger  and 
in  the  guise  of  a  youthful  Dionysius,  the  expression  far  more  human, 
and  the  treatment  of  the  hair  far  less  elaborate  and  effeminate 


ROME  268 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson 

(Fig.   i).    Marcus  Aurelius  accompanied  by  Bassseus   Rufus,    praetorian 

prefect,  is  riding  through  a  wood  and  receiving  the  submission  of  two 
barbarian  chiefs.  In  my  judgment  this  scene,  and  especially  the  figure 
of  the  foot  soldier  at  the  emperor's  side,  is  the  chff-d'ceuvre  of  Roman 
historical  relief-work 

(Fig.  2).  Marcus  and  Bassaeus  are  sacrificing  in  front  of  the  temple  of  the 
Capitoline  Jove.  These  panels  probably  belonged  to  a  triumphal  arch 
erected  in  honour  of  the  German  and  Sarmatian  wars  of  A.D.  171-175. 
From  photographs  by  Anderson  of  the  originals  in  the  Conservatori 
Palace,  Rome 


From  photographs  by  Alinari.  This  splendid  monument  at  Bene- 
ventum  on  the  Appian  Way  was  erected  in  A.D.  114  in  expectation  of 
the  emperor's  triumphant  return  from  the  East,  where,  however,  he 
died.  It  is  constructed  of  Greek  marble  and  once  carried  a  quadriga 
in  bronze.  The  reliefs  on  the  inside  (Fig.  i)  depict  the  triumph  of 
Trajan  after  his  Parthian  campaign.  Those  on  the  outside  (Fig.  2) 
represent  the  Dacian  campaigns 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson  of  the  original  in  the  National 
Museum,  Rome.  A  fine  example  of  decorative  art.  The  motive  of  the 
garlanded  skull  is  a  favourite  one.  This  altar  was,  as  the  inscription 
shows,  a  work  of  Hadrian's  time 




80  TOMB  OF  THE  HATERII  278 

From  a  photograph  by  Alinari  of  the  fragments  in  the  Lateran  Museum, 
Rome.  Monument  to  a  physician  and  his  family  of  about  A.D.  100. 
The  scheme  is  ugly  and  barbaric,  but  it  includes  some  very  fine  decora- 
tive work.  The  f  a9ades  of  five  Roman  buildings  are  shown — the  Temple 
of  Isis,  the  Colosseum,  two  triumphal  arches,  and  the  Temple  of 
Jupiter  Stator.  The  temples  are  open  and  the  images  visible 


From  a  photograph  by  Lacoste,  kindly  supplied  by  Sr.  D.  Miguel 
Utrillo.  This  superb  bridge  over  the  Tagus  is  650  feet  long.  The 
design  exhibits  a  rare  combination  of  grace  with  strength 

82  TOMB  OF  HADRIAN,  ROME  284 

From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  The  Castel  S.  Angelo,  restored 
as  a  fortress  by  Pope  Alexander  VI.  (Borgia),  consists  mainly  of  the 
Mausoleum  of  Hadrian  ;  the  bridge  leading  to  it  was  also  constructed 
for  the  emperor's  funeral.  The  circular  tower  was  formerly  ornamented 
with  columns  between  which  were  statues.  The  famous  Barberini 
Faun  was  one  of  them.  There  was  a  pyramidal  gilt  roof,  and  a  colossal 
quadriga  at  the  top.  The  whole  building  was  formerly  faced  with  white 
Parian  marble.  Besides  Hadrian,  all  the  Antonines,  and  Septimius 
Severus  and  Caracalla  were  buried  here.  The  castle  has  had  a  stirring 
history  in  mediaeval  times  also.  The  building  is  modelled  upon  the 
Mausoleum  of  Caria 


From  photographs  by  R.  C.  Smith.    See  p.  296 



From  the  originals  in  the  British  Museum,  after  photographs  by 
Donald  Macbeth 


From  the  original  in  the  British  Museum,  said  to  have  been  found  in  a 
columbarium  on  the  Appian  Way 


From  photographs  by  R.  C.  Smith.  The  upper  picture  shows  how 
the  buried  city  has  been  dug  out  of  the  ashes  from  Vesuvius  which  form 
the  subsoil  of  the  surrounding  country.  The  lower  picture  is  a  general 
view,  showing  Corinthian  columns  which  formed  a  colonnade  round  the 
open  impluvium 


From  photographs  by  Brogi.  The  upper  picture  shows  the  Cupids 
engaged  as  goldsmiths ;  the  lower  shows  them  as  charioteers,  Apollo 
and  Artemis  below.  Two  examples  of  the  elegant  mythological  style 
of  the  Greek  decline,  but  extremely  effective  for  the  purpose.  This  art 
is  held  to  have  originated  in  Alexandria 


Collotype  plate  from  a  photograph  by  Brogi.    Probably  a  copy  of  one 



10    FACE 

of  the  great  pictures  of  the  old  Greek  masters,  Timanthes,  about  400  B.C. 
If  so  it  is  the  most  important  example  of  early  painting  in  existence. 
The  psychological  motive  of  the  composition  is  a  study  of  grief. 
Calchas  the  prophet  is  grieved  with  foreknowledge,  Ajax  and  Odysseus 
are  sorrowfully  obeying  commands  which  they  do  not  understand. 
Iphigenia  herself  shows  the  fortitude  of  a  martyr,  but  Agamemnon's 
grief,  since  he  was  her  father,  is  too  great  for  a  Greek  to  exhibit.  Hence 
his  face  is  hidden.  Above  appears  the  deer  which  Artemis  allowed  to 
be  substituted  for  the  maiden 


Reproduced  by  permission  of  the  German  Institute  of  Archaeology, 
from  Luckenbach's  "  Kunst  und  Geschichte  "  (grosse  Ausgabe,  Teil  I, 
Tafel  IV).,  by  arrangement  with  R.  Oldenbourg,  Munich 


From  a  photograph  by  Brogi  of  the  fresco  now  in  the  Vatican.  In  the 
centre  is  the  veiled  bride ;  Venus  is  encouraging  her,  Charis  is  compound- 
ing sweet  essences  to  add  to  her  beauty,  Hymen  waits  on  the  bride's  left 
seated  on  the  threshold  stone,  outside  is  a  group  of  three  maidens,  a 
musician,  a  crowned  bridesmaid,  and  a  tire-woman.  At  the  other  side 
the  bride's  family  is  seen.  This  is  without  question  the  most  charming 
example  of  ancient  painting 


From  a  photograph  by  Brogi  of  the  original,  discovered  at  Pompeii, 
now  in  the  National  Museum,  Naples.  An  example  of  Hellenic  metal- 
work  of  the  Augustan  age 

92  MITHRAS  AND  BULL  308 

From  a  photograph  by  Mansell  &  Co.  of  the  statue  in  the  British 
Museum.  Represents  the  Mithraic  sacrament  of  Taurobolium  in 
which  the  worshippers  received  new  life  by  bathing  in  the  blood  of  a  bull. 
Mithras  wears  a  Phrygian  cap,  for  the  Mithraic  religion,  though  it  arose 
in  Persia,  only  began  to  form  artistic  expression  when  it  passed  through 
the  art  region  of  Asia  Minor.  This  motive  constantly  recurs  in  the 
monuments  of  the  second  and  third  century  all  over  Europe 


From  a  photograph  by  Alinari.  This  little  church  which  contains  the 
tombs  of  the  Emperor  Honorius,  her  brother,  and  of  Constantius  III., 
her  husband,  as  well  as  a  sarcophagus  of  the  Empress  in  marble, 
formerly  adorned  with  plaques  of  silver,  is  eloquent  of  the  shrunken 
glory  of  the  Western  Empire  in  the  fifth  century.  It  was  founded 
about  A.D.  440.  It  is  built  in  the  form  of  a  Latin  cross,  and  is  only  49  ft. 
l°ng>  41  ft.  broad.  The  interior  contains  beautiful  mosaics.  Ravenna 
contains  many  other  relics  of  this  period  when  it  was  the  seat  of  the 
Roman  government 


From  a  photograph  by  Giraudon  of  the  original  in  the  Louvre.  In 
the  centre  Constantine  is  represented  on  horseback  with  spear  reversed 
in  token  of  victory.  Round  him  are  Victory,  a  suppliant  barbarian, 
and  Earth  with  her  fruits.  To  the  left  is  a  Roman  soldier  bearing  a 



PLATES  **Glt 

statuette  of  Victory.  Below  the  nations  of  the  East  bring  their  tribute. 
Above  two  Victories,  in  process  of  transition  into  angels,  support  a 
medallion  of  Christ,  still  of  the  beardless  type  associated  with  Apollo 
and  Sol  Invictus.  The  emblems  of  sun,  moon,  and  stars  show  that 
Christian  Art  is  not  yet  severed  from  paganism 

95  (Fig.  i)  THE  PALACE  OF  DIOCLETIAN,  SPALATO  316 

From  a  photograph  by  Miss  Carr.  Diocletian  planned  this  great  palace, 
which  is  more  like  a  city  or  fortress,  at  Spalato  (Salons)  on  the  Dalmatian 
coast,  for  his  place  of  retirement.  Its  external  walls  measured  700  ft. 
by  580  ft.  It  was  fortified  on  three  sides  and  entered  by  three  gates. 
The  arcading  in  which  the  oriental  arch  springs  from  the  Roman 
column  is  the  most  interesting  architectural  feature  of  the  extensive 
ruins  now  existing 


From  a  photograph  by  Anderson.  Shows  the  really  degenerate  art 
of  the  fourth  century  A.D.  In  this  battle  (A.D.  312)  Constantine 
defeated  his  rival  Maxentius,  who  was  drowned  with  numbers  of  his 
men  in  the  Tiber.  The  relief  shows  the  drowning 



ROMAN  At:   BRONZE  (FULL  SIZE)  WEIGHT  290  g.  18 

The  style  of  the  design  points  to  about  350  B.C.,  and  we  have  no  real 
evidence  of  a  coinage  any  earlier.  The  design  is  not  primitive  though 
it  is  clumsily  cast.  The  head  of  Janus  is  often  found  on  Greek  coins 
and  so  is  the  galley  prow.  The  weight  of  the  As  sank  from  12  to  I  oz.  in 
the  course  of  republican  history 


An  example  of  Etruscan  painting  which  does  not  differ  from 
Greek.  This  is  probably  a  head  of  Hercules,  whose  name  is  found  on 
Etruscan  inscriptions 


From  Ridgeway's  "  Early  Age  of  Greece."  Black  ware  decorated  with 
incised  ornament  :  hippocamps  or  sea-horses  on  one  :  found  at  Falerii 
in  Tuscany.  Pottery  of  this  type  is  found  on  prehistoric  sites  all  over 
the  Mediterranean 


The  woollen  toga  was  the  official  dress  of  the  Roman  citizen.  It  was 
generally  worn  over  a  tunic,  though  antiquarians,  like  Cato,  wore  the 
toga  alone.  It  was  worn  in  the  natural  colour  of  the  wool,  but 
candidates  for  office  wore  it  specially  whitened,  and  magistrates  had  a 
purple  border 






GALLIC  POTTERY  114,  115 

It  is  clearly  only  a  provincial  development  of  the  Arretine  ware  which, 
is  itself  imitated  from  the  Samian  ware  of  Greece 



A  reconstruction  of  the  great  frontier  lines  which  encircled  the  Empire 
to  the  North  along  the  Rhine  and  Danube.  This  is  the  style  of  the 
limes  of  Upper  Germany 



See  p.  294 



questa  del  Foro  tuo  solitudine 
ogni  rumore  vince,  ogni  gloria, 
e  tutto  che  al  mondo  6  civile, 
grande,  augusto,  egli  £  romano  ancora. 



THENS  and  Rome  stand  side  by 
side  as  the  parents  of  Western 
civilisation.  The  parental  meta- 
phor is  almost  irresistible. 
Rome  is  so  obviously  masculine 
and  robust,  Greece  endowed 
with  so  much  loveliness  and 
charm.  Rome  subjugates  by 
physical  conquest  and  govern- 
ment. Greece  yields  so  easily 
to  the  Roman  might  and  then 
in  revenge  so  easily  dominates  Rome  itself,  with  all  that 
Rome  has  conquered,  by  the  mere  attractiveness  of 
superior  humanity.  Nevertheless  this  metaphor  of  mascu- 
line and  feminine  contains  a  serious  fallacy.  Greece,  too, 
had  had  days  of  military  vigour.  It  was  by  superior 
courage  and  skill  in  fighting  that  Athens  and  Sparta  had 
beaten  back  the  Persian  invasions  of  the  fifth  century 
before  Christ,  and  thus  saved  Europe  for  occidentalism. 
Again  it  was  by  military  prowess  that  Alexander  the  Great 
carried  Greek  civilisation  to  the  borders  of  India,  Hellenising 
Asia  Minor,  Syria,  Persia,  Egypt,  Phoenicia  and  even 
Palestine.  This  he  did  just  at  the  moment  when  Rome  was 

A  I 


winning  her  dominion  over  Latium.  Instead,  then,  of  looking 
at  Greece  and  Rome  as  two  coeval  forces  working  side  by 
side  we  must  regard  them  as  predecessor  and  successor. 
Rome  is  scarcely  revealed  as  a  world-power  until  she  meets 
Greek  civilisation  in  Campania  near  the  beginning  of  the 
third  century  before  Christ.  The  physical  decline  of  Greece 
is  scarcely  apparent  until  her  phalanx  returns  beaten  in  battle 
by  the  Roman  maniples  at  Beneventum.  Moreover,  in 
addition  to  this  chronological  division  of  spheres  there  is  also 
a  geographical  division.  Greece  takes  the  East,  Rome  the 
West,  and  though  by  the  time  that  Rome  went  forth  to 
govern  her  Western  provinces  she  was  already  pretty 
thoroughly  permeated  with  Greek  civilisation,  yet  the  West 
remained  throughout  mediaeval  history  far  more  Latin  than 
Greek.  When  Constantine  divided  the  empire  he  was  only 
expressing  in  outward  form  a  natural  division  of  culture. 

The  resemblances  between  Rome  and  Greece  even  from 
the  first  are  very  clearly  marked.  In  many  respects  they  are 
visibly  of  the  same  family,  and  though  we  no  longer  speak  as 
confidently  of  "Aryan"  and  "Indo-European"  as  did  the 
ethnologists  and  philologists  of  the  nineteenth  century,  yet 
there  remains  an  obvious  kinship  of  language,  customs,  and 
even  dress.  Many  of  the  most  obvious  similarities,  such 
as  those  of  religion,  are  now  seen  to  be  the  result  of 
later  borrowing,  but  there  remains  a  distinct  cousinship, 
whether  derived  from  the  conquest  of  both  peninsulas  by 
kindred  tribes  of  northern  invaders,  as  Ridgeway  holds,  or 
from  the  existence  of  an  aboriginal  Mediterranean  race,  as 
Sergi  believes — or  from  both. 

But  with  all  these  resemblances,  one  of  the  most  interest- 
ing features  of  ancient  history  lies  in  the  psychological  con- 
trast between  Greece  and  Rome,  or  rather  between  Athens 
and  Rome.'  Athens  is  rich  in  ideas,  full  of  the  spirit  of 
inquiry,  and  hence  fertile  in  invention,  fond  of  novelty, 
worshipping  brilliance  of  mind  and  body.  Rome  is  stolid 
and  conservative,  devoted  to  tradition  and  law.  Gravity  and 


the  sense  of  duty  are  her  supreme  virtues.  Here  we  have 
the  two  types  that  succeed  and  conquer,  set  side  by  side  for 
comparison.  To  which  is  the  victory  in  the  end  ? 

To  the  Englishman  of  to-day  Rome  is  in  some  ways  far 
more  familiar  than  Greece.  Apart  from  obvious  resemblances 
in  history  and  in  character,  Rome  touches  our  own  domestic 
history,  and  any  man  who  has  marked  the  stability  of  old 
Roman  foundations  or  the  straightness  of  old  Roman  roads 
has  already  grasped  a  fundamental  truth  about  her.  He  is  ' 
surely  not  far  wrong  in  the  general  sense  of  irresistible 
power,  of  blind  energy  and  rigid  law,  which  he  associates 
with  the  name  of  Rome.  Thus,  there  is  not  as  there  was  in 
the  case  of  Greece  any  radical  misconception  of  the  Roman 
character  to  be  combated. 

But  there  is,  it  appears,  a  widely  prevalent  false  perspec-  - 
live  in  the  common  view  of  Roman  history.  The  modern 
reader,  especially  if  he  be  an  Englishman,  is  a  very  stern 
moralist  in  his  judgment  of  other  nations  and  ages.  In  addi- 
tion to  this  he  is  a  citizen  of  an  empire  now  extremely  self- 
conscious  and  somewhat  bewildered  at  its  own  magnitude. 
He  cannot  help  drawing  analogies  from  Roman  history  and 
seeking  in  it  "morals"  for  his  own  guidance.  The  Roman 
empire  bears  such  an  obvious  and  unique  resemblance  to 
the  British  that  the  fate  of  the  former  must  be  of  enormous 
interest  to  the  latter.  For  this  reason  alone  we  are  apt  to 
regard  the  fall  of  Rome  as  the  cardinal  point  of  Roman 
history.  To  this  must  be  added  the  influence  of  Gibbon's 
great  work.  By  Gibbon  we  are  led  to  contemplate  above 
all  things  (with  Silas  Wegg)  her  Decline  and  Fall.  Thus 
Rome  has  become  for  many  people  simply  a  colossal  failure 
and  a  horrible  warning.  We  behold  her  first  as  a  Republic 
tottering  to  her  inevitable  ruin,  and  then  as  an  Empire 
decaying  from  the  start  and  continuing  to  fester  for  some 
five  hundred  years.  This  is  one  of  the  cases  which  prove 
that  History  is  made  not  so  much  by  heroes  or  natural 
forces  as  by  historians.  It  is  an  accident  of  historiography 



that  the  Republic  was  not  described  by  any  great  native 
historian  until  its  close,  when  amid  the  horrors  of  civil  war 
men  set  themselves  to  idealise  the  heroes  of  extreme  anti- 
quity and  thus  left  a  gloomy  picture  of  unmitigated  deteriora- 
tion. As  there  was  no  great  historian  in  sympathy  with  the 
imperial  regime,  the  reputation  of  the  early  Empire  was  left 
mainly  in  the  hands  of  Tacitus  and  Suetonius,  the  former  of 
whom  riddled  it  with  epigrams  while  the  latter  befouled  it 
with  scandal.  Nearly  all  Roman  writers  had  a  rhetorical 
training  and  a  satirical  bent :  all  Romans  were  praisers  of 
the  past.  Thus  it  is  that  Roman  virtue  has  receded  into  an 
age  which  modern  criticism  declares  to  be  mythological.  It 
is  a  further  accident  that  the  genius  of  Rome's  greatest 
modern  historian  was  also  strongly  satirical.  It  was  a  natural 
affinity  of  temper  which  led  Gibbon  to  continue  the  story  of 
Tacitus  and  to  dip  his  pen  into  the  same  bitter  fluid. 

Thus  Rome  has  found  few  impartial  historians  and  hardly 
any  sympathetic  ones.  But  is  it  possible  to  be  sympathetic  ? 
While  every  true  scholar  feels  a  thrill  at  the  name  of  Greece, 
scarcely  any  one  loves  Ancient  Rome.  At  the  first  mention 
of  her  name  the  average  man's  thoughts  fly  to  the  Colosseum 
and  the  Christian  martyr  "  facing  the  lion's  gory  mane "  to 
the  music  of  Nero's  fiddle.  His  second  thought  is  to  formu- 
late his  explanation  of  her  decline  and  fall.  The  explanations  " 
are  as  various  as  political  complexions.  "  Luxury,"  says  the 
moralist,  "  Heathendom,"  says  the  Christian,  "  Christianity," 
replies  Gibbon.  The  Protectionist  can  easily  show  that  it 
was  due  to  the  importation  of  free  corn,  while  the  Free 
Trader  draws  attention  to  the  enormous  burdens  which  Roman 
trade  had  to  bear.  "  Militarism,"  explains  the  peace-lover  ; 
"neglect  of  personal  service,"  replies  the  conscriptionist. 
The  Liberal  and  the  Conservative  can  both  draw  valuable 
conclusions  from  Roman  history  in  support  of  their  respective 
attitudes  of  mind.  "If  it  had  not  been  for  demagogues  like 
Marius  and  the  Gracchi,"  says  the  Conservative,  "  Rome 
might  have  continued  to  exhibit  the  courage  and  patriotism 

•a."  It-i... 


which  she  displayed  under  senatorial  guidance  in  the  war 
against  Hannibal,  instead  of  rushing  to  her  doom  by  way  of 
sedition  and  disorder."  With  equal  justice  the  Liberal  points 
to  the  stupid  bigotry  with  which  that  corrupt  oligarchy,  the 
senate,  delayed  necessary  reforms.  That,  he  says,  was  the 
cause  of  the  downfall  of  Rome.  That  was  the  writing  on  the 

Whether  it  is  or  is  not  possible  to  love  Ancient  Rome, 
I  would  suggest  that  this  attitude  of  treating  her  merely  as  a 
subject  for  autopsies  and  a  source  of  gloomy  vaticinations  for 
the  benefit  of  the  British  Empire  is  a  preposterous  affront  to 
history.  The  mere  notion  of  an  empire  continuing  to  decline 
and  fall  for  five  centuries  is  ridiculous.  It  is  to  regard  as  a 
failure  the  greatest  civilising  force  in  all  the  history  of  Europe, 
the  most  stable  form  of  government,  the  strongest  military 
and  political  system  that  has  ever  existed. 

It  is  just  at  this  point  that  our  own  generation  can  add 
something  of  great  importance  to  the  study  of  Roman 
history.  Whatever  may  be  said  for  its  faith,  hope  is  the 
great  discovery  of  our  age.  By  the  help  of  that  blessed 
word  "Evolution"  we  have  learnt  not  to  put  our  Golden 
Ages  in  the  past  but  in  the  future.  In  many  instances  we 
have  discovered  that  what  our  fathers  called  decay  was  really 
progress.  May  it  not  be  so  with  Rome  ? 

The  destiny  or  function  of  Rome  in  world-history  was 
nothing  more  or  less  than  the  making  of  Europe.  •  The 
modern  family  of  European  nations  are  her  sons  and 
daughters,  and  some  of  her  daughters  have  grown  up  and 
married  foreign  husbands  and  given  birth  to  offspring.  For 
this  great  purpose  it  was  necessary  that  the  city  itself  should 
pass  through  the  phases  of  growth,  maturity  and  decay.  In 
political  terms,  it  was  part  of  the  Roman  destiny  to  translate 
the  civilisation  of  the  city-state  into  that  of  the  nation  or 
territorial  state.  Having  evolved  the  Province  it  was 
necessary  that  the  City  should  expire.  Conquest  on  a 
colossal  scale  was  part  of  the  programme,  absolute  centralised 



Unless  we  are  prepared  to  accept  the  rank  of  progenies 
vitiosissima  we  are  compelled  to  discount  this  whole  tendency 
of  thought  and  read  our  authorities  between  the  lines.  They 
were  all  rhetoricians,  all  bent  on  praising  the  past  at  the 
expense  of  the  present  and  the  future ;  none  of  them  were 
over-scrupulous  in  dealing  with  evidence.  If  all  the  historians 
had  perished  and  only  the  inscriptions  remained  we  should 
have  a  very  different  picture  of  the  Roman  empire,  a 
picture  much  brighter  and,  I  think,  much  more  faithful  to 


Hellenism  we  know  and  understand  ;  every  true  classical 
scholar  is  a  Hellenist  by  conviction.  But  what  is  Latinism 
and  who  are  our  Latinists  ?  The  altar  fires  are  extinct  and 
the  votaries  are  scattered.  Except  for  a  small  volume  of  the 
choicest  Latin  poetry  of  the  Augustan  age,  what  that  is  Latin 
gives  us  pleasure  to-day  ?  Greek  studies  seem  to  attract  all 
that  is  most  brilliant  and  genial  in  the  world  of  scholarship  : 
Latin  is  mainly  relegated  to  the  dry-as-dusts.  Who  reads 
Lucan  out  of  school  hours  ?  Who  would  search  Egypt  for 
Cicero's  lost  work  "  De  Gloria  "  ?  Who  would  recognise  a 
quotation  from  Statius  ? 

It  has  not  always  been  so.  Once  they  quoted  Lucan  and 
Seneca  across  the  floor  of  the  House  of  Commons.  The 
eighteenth  century  was  far  more  in  sympathy  with  Ancient 
Rome  than  we  are.  In  those  days  it  would  not  have  seemed 
absurd  to  argue  the  superiority  of  Vergil  over  Homer.  Down 
to  that  day  Latin  had  remained  the  alternative  language  for 
educated  people,  the  medium  of  international  communication, 
even  for  diplomacy,  until  French  gradually  took  its  place. 
Only  if  you  specifically  sought  to  reach  the  vulgar  did  you 
write  in  English.  Though  Dr.  Johnson  could  write  a  very 
pretty  letter  in  French,  he  used  habitually  to  converse  with 
Frenchmen  in  Latin ;  not  that  it  made  him  more  intelligible, 
for,  in  fact,  no  foreigner  could  understand  the  English  pro- 


nunciation  of  Latin  ;  but  that  he  did  not  wish  to  appear  at  a 
disadvantage  with  a  mere  Frenchman  by  adopting  a  foreign 
jargon.  As  for  public  inscriptions,  though  half  the  literary 
men  in  London  signed  a  round-robin  entreating  the  great 
autocrat  to  write  Oliver  Goldsmith's  epitaph  in  English, 
Johnson  "refused  to  disgrace  the  walls  of  Westminster 
Abbey  with  an  English  inscription." 

What  is  the  cause  of  the  eclipse  which  Latin  studies  are 
still  suffering?  One  cause,  perhaps,  is  to  be  found  in  the 
misuse  of  the  language  by  the  pedagogues  and  philologists 
of  the  past  in  the  school  and  the  examination-room.  But 
another  cause  is  the  recent  discovery  of  the  true  Greek  civi- 
lisation, whereby  scholars  have  come  to  realise  that  Latin 
culture  is  in  the  main  only  secondary  and  derivative.  At  the 
present  moment  we  are  passing  through  a  stage  of  revolt 
against  classicism,  convention,  and  artificiality.  We  know 
that  Greek  culture,  truly  discerned,  is  neither  "  classic  "  nor 
conventional  nor  artificial,  but  Latinism  is  still  apparently 
subject  to  all  these  terms.  The  Latinity  of  Cicero,  Vergil, 
Ovid,  Horace,  Lucan,  and  the  greater  part  of  the  giants,  in 
fact  all  the  Latin  of  our  schools  is — what  Greek  is  not — really 
and  truly  classical.  They  were  not  writing  as  they  spoke 
and  thought.  They  had  studied  the  laws  of  expression  in  the 
school  of  rhetoric,  and  on  pain  of  being  esteemed  barbarous 
they  wrote  under  those  laws.  Style  was  their  aim.  Their 
very  language  was  subject  to  arbitrary  laws  of  syntax  and 
grammar.  The  English  schoolboy  who  approaches  Cicero 
by  way  of  the  primer's  rules  and  examples  is  entering  into 
Latin  literature  by  much  the  same  road  as  the  Romans 
themselves.  The  Romans  were  grammarians  by  instinct 
and  orators  by  education.  Thus  Latin  is  fitted  by  nature  for 
schoolroom  use,  and  for  all  who  would  learn  and  study  words, 
which  after  all  are  thoughts,  Latin  is  the  supremely  best 
training-ground.  The  language  marches  by  rule.  Rules 
govern  the  inflexions  and  the  concords  of  the  words.  The 
periods  are  built  up  logically  and  beautifully  in  obedience  to 


law.     Latin,  of  all  languages,  least  permits  translation.     You 
have  only  to  translate  Cicero  to  despise  him. 

In  the  world  of  letters,  as  in  that  of  politics,  there  are 
the  virtues  of  order  and  the  virtues  of  liberty.  Our  own 
eighteenth  century  was  logical  in  mind  because  it  had  to 
clothe  its  thoughts  in  a  language  of  precision.  But  even 
Pope  and  Addison  are  rude  barbarians  compared  with  Vergil 
and  Cicero.  De  giistibus  non  est  disputandum — let  some 
prefer  the  plain  roast  and  others  the  made  dish.  Latin  may 
be  an  acquired  taste,  but  no  sort  of  excellence  is  mortal. 
Latin  will  come  into  its  own  again  along  with  Dryden  and 
Congreve,  along  with  patches  and  periwigs.  Meanwhile  it 
must  be  a  very  dull  soul  who  is  unmoved  by  the  grandeur  of 
Roman  history,  the  triumphant  march  of  the  citizen  legions, 
the  dogged  patriotism  which  resisted  Hannibal  to  the  death, 
and  the  pageantry  and  splendour  of  the  Empire.  One  must 
be  blind  not  to  admire  the  massive  strength  of  her  ruined 
monuments,  arches,  bridges,  roads,  and  aqueducts.  And 
one  must  be  deaf  indeed  not  to  enjoy  the  surges  of  Ciceronian 
oratory  or  the  rolling  music  of  the  Vergilian  hexameter. 
Greece  may  claim  all  the  charm  of  the  spring-time  of  civilisa- 
tion, but  Rome  in  all  her  works  has  a  majesty  which  must 
command,  if  not  love,  wonder  and  respect.  Mommsen  justly 
remarks  that  "  it  is  only  a  pitiful  narrow-mindedness  that  will 
object  to  the  Athenian  that  he  did  not  know  how  to  mould 
his  State  like  the  Fabii  and  Valerii,  or  to  the  Roman  that 
he  did  not  learn  to  carve  like  Phidias  and  to  write  like 

Under  the  flowing  toga  of  Latinism  the  natural  Roman  is 
concealed  from  our  view.  It  is  possible  that  the  progress  of 
research  and  excavation  may  to  some  extent  rediscover  him 
and  distinguish  him,  as  it  has  already  done  for  his  Hellenic 
brother,  from  the  polished  courtiers  of  the  Augustan  age  who 
have  hitherto  passed  as  typical  products  of  Rome. 

It  is  astonishing  how  little  we  really  know  of  Rome  and 
the  Romans  after  all  that  has  been  said  and  written  about 


them.  The  ordinary  natural  Roman  is  a  complete  stranger  to 
us.  It  is  certain  that  he  did  not  live  in  luxury  like  Maecenas, 
but  how  did  he  live  and  what  sort  of  man  was  he  ?  We  can 
discern  that  his  language  was  not  in  the  least  like  that  of 
Cicero.  It  appears  that  he  neither  dreaded  nor  disliked 
emperors  like  Nero,  as  did  Tacitus  and  Juvenal.  As  for  his 
religion,  much  has  already  been  done,  and  more  still  remains 
to  be  done,  to  show  that  he  did  not  really  worship  the 
Hellenised  Olympians  who  pass  in  literature  for  his  gods. 
Recent  scholarship  has  done  something  to  reveal  to  us  the 
presence  of  a  real  national  art  in  Rome,  or  at  any  rate  of  an 
artistic  development  on  Italian  soil  which  made  visible  steps 
of  its  own  out  of  Hellenic  leading-strings.  Thus  there  is 
some  hope  that  the  real  Roman  will  not  always  elude  us. 
But  for  the  present  in  the  whole  domain  of  art,  religion, 
thought,  and  literature,  Greek  influence  has  almost  obliterated 
the  native  strain.  For  the  present,  therefore,  we  must  be 
content  to  regard  Roman  civilisation  as  mainly  derivative, 
and  our  principal  object  will  be  to  see  how  Rome  fulfilled  her 
task  as  the  missionary  of  Greek  thought.  This  object,  to- 
gether with  the  unsatisfactory  nature  of  the  records,  must 
excuse  the  haste  with  which  I  have  passed  over  the  earlier 
stages  of  Roman  republican  history.  It  is  obvious  that  the 
first  three  centuries  of  our  era  will  be  the  important  part  of 
Roman  history  from  this  point  of  view.  Also,  if  the  progress 
of  civilisation  be  our  main  study,  nothing  in  Roman  history 
before  the  beginning  of  the  second  century  B.C.  can  come 
directly  under  our  attention.  When  the  Romans  first  came 
into  contact  with  the  Greeks  they  were  still  barbarians,  with 
no  literature,  no  art,  and  very  little  industry  or  commerce. 
The  earlier  periods  will  only  be  introductory. 


The  pleasant  land  of  Italy  needs   no  description  here. 
Our  illustrations*   will  recall  its   sunny  hill-sides,  its  deep 

*  Plates  i,  2,  3,  8,  and  70. 



shadows,  its  vineyards  and  olive-yards.  But  there  are  one 
or  two  features  of  its  geography  which  have  a  bearing  upon 
the  history  of  Rome. 

To  begin  with,  the  geographical  unity  of  the  Italian 
peninsula  is  more  apparent  than  real.  The  curving  formation 
of  the  Apennines  really  divides  Italy  into  four  parts — (i)  the 
northern  region,  mainly  consisting  of  the  Po  valley,  a  fertile 
plain  which  throughout  the  Republican  period  was  scarcely 
considered  as  part  of  Italy  at  all,  and  was,  in  fact,  inhabited 
by  barbarian  Gauls ;  (2)  the  long  eastern  strip  of  Adriatic 
coast,  an  exposed  waterless  and  harbourless  region,  with  a 
scanty  population,  which  hardly  comes  into  ancient  history ; 
(3)  the  southern  region  of  Italy  proper,  hot,  fertile,  and  rich 
in  natural  harbours,  so  that  it  very  early  attracted  the  notice 
of  the  Greek  mariners,  and  was  planted  with  luxurious  and 
populous  cities  long  before  Rome  came  into  prominence ; 
and  (4)  the  central  plain  facing  westward,  in  which  the  river 
Tiber  and  the  city  of  Rome  occupy  a  central  position. 
Etruria  and  Latium  together  fill  the  greater  part  of  it.  Its 
width  is  only  about  eighty  miles,  so  that  there  is  no  room  for 
any  considerable  rivers  to  develop,  and,  in  fact,  there  are 
only  four  rivers  of  any  importance  in  a  coast-line  of  more 
than  300  miles.  We  may  call  the  whole  of  this  region  a  plain 
in  distinction  from  the  Apennine  highlands ;  but  it  is,  of 
course,  plentifully  scattered  with  hills  high  enough  to  provide 
an  impregnable  citadel,  and  to  this  day  crowned  with  huddled 

Rome  herself  on  her  Seven  Hills  began  her  career  by 
securing  dominion  over  the  Latin  plain  which  surrounded  her 
on  all  sides  but  the  north.  The  Roman  Campagna,*  which  is 
now  desolate  and  fever-stricken,  was  once  all  populous  farm- 
land. The  river  Tiber,  though  its  silting  mouth  and  tideless 
waters  now  render  it  useless  for  navigation,  was  in  the 
flourishing  days  of  Ancient  Rome  navigable  for  small  vessels 
and  Ostia  was  a  good  artificial  harbour  at  its  mouth.  Thus 

*  Plate  a. 


it  is  history  rather  than  geography  which  has  made  Rome 
into  an  unproductive  capital.  We  may  conclude  that  geography 
has  placed  Rome  in  a  favourable  position  for  securing  the 
control  of  the  Mediterranean  and  especially  of  the  western 
part  of  it. 

It  is  worth  while  also  to  notice  the  neighbours  by  whom 
she  was  surrounded  when  she  first  struggled  forward  into  the 
light.  Just  across  the  Tiber  to  the  north  of  her  were  the 
Etruscans  of  whom  we  shall  see  more  in  the  next  chapter. 
Their  pirate  ships  scoured  the  sea  while  their  merchants  did 
business  with  the  Greeks  of  Sicily,  Magna  Graecia  and 
Massilia.  It  was  perhaps  her  position  at  the  tete  du  pont  that 
led  to  Rome's  early  prominence  in  war.  Across  the  water  on 
the  coast  of  Africa  was  the  dreaded  city  of  Carthage,  which 
had  for  centuries  been  striving  to  establish  itself  on  the 
island  of  Sicily.  All  these  were  seafaring,  commercial 
peoples,  but  it  was  not  by  sea  that  Rome  met  them.  Behind 
Rome,  among  the  valleys  and  on  the  spurs  of  the  Apennines, 
were  a  whole  series  of  sturdy  highland  clans  who  like  all 
highlanders  noticed  the  superior  fatness  of  the  valley  sheep. 
It  was  against  these  Umbrians,  Marsians,  Pelignians,  Sabines, 
and  Samnites  that  the  cities  of  the  plain  were  constantly  at 
feud,  and  it  was  mainly  her  struggles  with  these  that  kept  the 
Roman  swords  bright  in  early  days.  • 

As  to  the  Romans  themselves  and  their  origin  there  is 
little  that  we  can  say  for  certain.  Ancient  ethnology  is  not 
by  any  means  yet  secure  of  its  premises.  One  thing  is  clear 
enough,  if  we  can  place  any  reliance  whatever  upon  literary 
records — the  national  characteristics  of  the  ancient  Roman 
were  very  unlike  those  of  the  modern  Italian.  The  one  was 
bold,  hardy,  grave,  orderly  and  inartistic :  the  other  is 
sensitive,  vivacious,  artistic,  turbulent  and  quick-witted. 
There  is  not  a  feature  in  common  between  them  and  yet  the 
modern  Italian  is  surely  the  normal  South  European  type. 
As  you  go  southwards  through  France  you  find  the  people 
approaching  these  characteristics  more  and  more.  The 


Spaniard  and  the  Greek  share  them.  The  Ancient  Roman 
of  republican  days,  unless  he  is  a  literary  invention,  is  assuredly 
no  southerner  in  temperament,  though  the  southern  qualities 
undoubtedly  begin  to  grow  clear  as  Roman  history  progresses. 
And  then  the  whole  of  early  Roman  history  is  marked  by  a 
strife  between  the  two  orders  Patrician  and  Plebeian,  which 
is  certainly  not  simply  a  struggle  between  two  political  parties, 
nor  a  mere  conflict  between  rich  and  poor.  There  is  a 
division  between  the  two  of  religion  and  custom  in  such 
matters  as  burial,  for  example,  and  marriage-rites.  The 
patricians  fear  contamination  of  their  blood  if  the  plebeians 
are  allowed  to  intermarry  with  them.  These  considerations 
and  others  like  them  have  led  Prof.  Ridgeway  to  formulate 
for  Rome,  as  he  has  already  done  with  success  for  Greece, 
a  theory  of  northern  invasion  and  conquest  in  very  early 
days.  Probably  it  is  a  theory  which  can  never  be  proved 
nor  disproved,  so  woefully  scanty  is  our  evidence  for  the 
earliest  centuries  of  Roman  history.  But  it  explains  the 
great  riddle  of  Roman  character  as  no  other  theory  does. 

The  archaeology  of  the  spade  does  not  help  us  much 
though  it  has  made  some  interesting  discoveries  on  the  soil 
of  Italy.  There  is  of  course  at  the  base  a  Neolithic  culture 
resembling  that  of  the  rest  of  Europe.  Then  there  is  a  phase 
of  pile-dwellings  widely  spread  among  the  marshes  of  the 
Lombard  plain  called  the  "  Terramare "  civilisation.  As 
this  phase  belongs  to  the  bronze  age  we  may  infer  that 
civilisation  developed  later  in  Italy  than  in  Greece  owing 
to  the  lack  of  fortified  cities.  In  this  Terramare  period  the 
dead  were  carefully  buried  whole,  often  folded  up  into  a 
sitting  posture  to  fit  their  contracted  graves.  Then  comes 
an  Early  Iron  period,  called  "The  Villanova,"  where  the 
cremated  ashes  of  the  dead  are  collected  in  urns  and 
deposited  in  vaults  generally  walled  with  flat  slabs  of  stone. 
Above  these  two  stages  come  Etruscan  and  Gallic  remains 
and  then  those  of  the  Rome  of  history.  It  is  probable 
enough  that  the  Iron  Age  of  the  Villanova  culture  repre- 


sents  a  conquest  from  the  north.  It  is  likely  that  in  pre- 
historic times  Italy  experienced  the  same  fate  as  throughout 
the  ages  of  history.  The  Alpine  passes  are  easier  from 
north  to  south  than  in  the  reverse  direction,  and  the  smiling 
plains  of  North  Italy  have  always  possessed  an  irresistible 
attraction  for  the  barbarian  who  looks  down  upon  them 
from  those  barren  snow-clad  heights.  Whether  the  invader 
be  an  Umbrian  or  Gaulish  or  Gothic  or  Austrian  warrior, 
Italia  must  pay  the  price  for  her  "  fatal  gift  of  beauty." 



arx  aeternae  dominationis. 


HAT  Rome  was  not  built  in  a  day 
is  the  only  thing  we  really  know 
about  the  origin  of  Rome.  There 
is,  however,  nothing  to  prevent 
us  from  guessing.  The  modern 
historian  of  the  Economic  School 
would  picture  to  us  a  limited 
company  of  primeval  men  of 
business  roaming  about  the  world 
until  they  found  a  spot  in  the 
centre  of  the  Mediterranean,  a 

convenient  depot  alike  for  Spanish  copper  and  Syrian  frankin- 
cense, handy  for  commerce  with  the  Etruscans  of  the  north, 
the  Sicilian  Greeks  of  the  south,  and  the  Carthaginians  of  the 
African  coast.  They  select  a  piece  of  rising  ground  on  the 
banks  of  the  river  Tiber,  about  fifteen  miles  from  its  mouth,  a 
spot  safe  and  convenient  for  their  cargo-boats,  and  there  they 
build  an  Exchange,  found  a  Chamber  of  Commerce  (which 
they  quaintly  term  senatus],  and  institute  that  form  of  public 
insurance  which  is  known  as  "an  army."  Thus  equipped 
they  proceed  by  force  or  fraud  to  acquire  a  number  of 
markets,  to  which  in  due  course  they  give  the  name  of 
"  Empire." 

This  picture,  being  modern,  is  naturally  impressionistic 
and  rather  vague  in  its  details.  From  all  accounts  a  good 


deal  of  engineering  would  be  required  to  make  the  natural 
Tiber  suitable  for  navigation  on  a  large  scale.  Not  only  does 
its  mouth  silt  up  every  year  and  its  channel  constantly  change, 
but  just  between  the  hills  on  the  very  floor  of  Rome  every 
spring  made  pools  and  swamps.  Nor  is  there  any  tide  in  the 
Mediterranean  to  help  the  rowers  up  to  the  city  against  the 
stream.  The  Etruscans,  who  diversified  their  commercial 
operations  with  systematic  piracy,  held  almost  the  whole  of 
this  western  coast  in  subjection.  The  Greeks  of  the  south, 
who  have  plenty  to  say  about  Etruscan  and  Carthaginian  sea- 
farers, have  forgotten  to  mention  their  early  Roman  customers. 
But  perhaps  that  is  because  the  primeval  trader  from  Rome 
cannot  have  had  anything  much  to  sell,  and  certainly  had  no 
money  at  all  to  buy  with.  In  founding  his  Bourse  he  seems 
to  have  forgotten  to  provide  a  Mint ;  at  any  rate,  long  after 
the  Sicilian  Greeks  had  evolved  a  most  exquisite  coinage  of 
silver  and  gold,  the  Romans  were  still  content  with  the  huge 
and  clumsy  copper  as.  I  think  we  may  confidently  dismiss  . 
external  trade  from  among  the  causes  of  the  early  rise  of  Rome. 
The  coinage  is  the  surest  evidence  we  possess ;  no  foreign 
trade  could  have  passed  in  the  Mediterranean  on  a  basis  of 
the  copper  as,  and  in  Latin  the  equivalent  for  "money"  is  a 
word  denoting  "cattle."  Whoever  the  early  Romans  were, 
they  were  mainly,  as  all  their  religion  and  traditions  show, 
land-soldiers  and  farmers. 

Livy  takes  a  more  sensible  view.  He  admits  that  the 
current  accounts  of  the  foundation  of  the  city  are  involved  in 
mystery  and  miracle,  but  he  asserts  with  justice  that  if  any 
city  deserved  a  miraculous  origin  Rome  did.  Thereupon  he 
proceeds  to  relate  the  pleasant  tale  of  her  foundation  in  the 
year  753  B.C.  by  Romulus  and  Remus. 

It  is  surely  unprofitable  to  search  very  deeply  for  grains  of 
truth  in  the  sands  of  legend  which  cover  the  early  traditions 
of  Rome,  but  it  is  sometimes  interesting  to  conjecture  how 
and  why  the  legends  were  invented.  The  story  of  Romulus 
and  Remus,  for  example,  may  have  taken  its  rise  in  a 

B  17 


"sacristan's  tale"  about  an  ancient  work  of  art  representing 

Roman  As  (bronze,  full  size) 

a  wolf  suckling  two  babes.     A  fairly  ancient  copy  of  this 
motive  is  preserved  in  the  famous  Capitoline  Wolf.*     The 

*  Plate  4. 



wolf  at  least  is  ancient,  and  the  children  have  been  added  in 
modern  times  from  representations  of  the  famous  group  on 
ancient  coins.  It  is  possible  that  the  original  statue  may  go 
back  to  days  of  totemistic  religion  when  the  wolf  was  the 
ancestor  of  a  Roman  clan. 

The  Seven  Kings  of  Rome  are  for  the  most  part  mere 
names  which  have  been  fitted  by  rationalising  antiquarians, 
presumably  Greek,  with  inventions  appropriate  to  them. 
Romulus  is  simply  the  patron  hero  of  Rome  called  by  her 
name.  Numa,  the  second,  whose  name  suggests  numen,  was 
the  blameless  Sabine  who  originated  most  of  the  old  Roman 
cults,  and  received  a  complete  biography  largely  borrowed 
from  that  invented  for  Solon.  Tullus  Hostilius  and  Ancus 
Martius  were  the  hostile  and  martial  inventors  of  military 
systems.  Servius  Tullius  was  a  man  of  servile  origin,  and 
on  this  foundation  Freeman  built  his  belief  that  the  Roman 
kingship  was  a  career  open  to  talent ! 

As  for  the  two  Tarquins,  the  latter  of  whom  was  turned 
by  Greek  historians  into  a  typical  Greek  tyrant  and  made  the 
subject  of  an  edifying  Greek  story  of  tyrannicide  closely 
modelled  on  the  story  of  Harmodius,  their  names  are  said  to 
be  Etruscan.  There  is  a  recent  theory  that  the  saving  of 
Rome  by  Horatius  and  his  comrades  is  fable  designed  to 
conceal  the  real  conquest  of  Rome  by  the  Etruscans.  As  a 
matter  of  fact  there  is  a  good  deal  of  other  evidence  for  that 
theory :  reluctant  admissions  in  history  and  literature,  records 
of  an  ancient  treaty  of  submission,  the  fact  that  the  ritual  and 
ornament  of  supreme  authority  at  Rome  seems  to  be  of 
Etruscan  origin,  and  above  all  the  evidence  of  the  stones. 
There  are  traces  of  very  early  skill  and  activity  in  building 
at  Rome,  and,  unless  the  Romans  afterwards  declined  very 
remarkably  in  the  arts  and  crafts,  their  early  works,  such  as 
the  walls  and  some  of  the  sewers,  must  have  been  built  under 
foreign  influence.  That  some  sort  of  early  kingship  at  Rome 
is  more  than  a  legend  is  certain  ;  the  whole  fabric  of  the 
Roman  constitution  and  its  fundamental  theory  of  imperium 


imply  the  existence  of  primeval  kingship.  On  the  whole, 
then,  we  may  well  believe  that  at  some  early  period  the  city 
of  Rome  under  Etruscan  princes  formed  part  of  an  empire 
which  embraced  a  number  of  ports  and  towns  up  and  down 
the  Italian  coast,  though  it  did  not  necessarily  concern  itself 
with  the  intervening  and  surrounding  territories.  During  all 
the  early  centuries  of  Rome  it  must  have  been  a  constant 
struggle  between  civilised  walled  towns  on  or  near  the  coast 
and  warlike  hill  tribes,  quite  uncivilised,  from  the  mountainous 

These  mysterious  Etruscans  have  formed  the  theme  of  an 
internecine  war  of  monographs.  On  the  whole  we  may  pro- 
nounce that. those  scholars  who  maintain  their  Lydian  origin 
have  completely  demolished  the  arguments  of  those  who  aver 
that  they  sprang  from  the  Rhaetian  Alps — and  vice  versa.  1 1 
remains  possible,  therefore,  that  the  Etruscans  came  from 
nowhere  in  particular  but  were  as  aboriginal  and  autoch- 
thonous as  any  European  people.  It  is  true  that  we  cannot 
make  out  much  of  their  language,  but  that  is  also  true  of  the 
aboriginal  Cretans — and  of  many  other  autochthonous  peoples. 
Their  earliest  remains  are  of  a  type  familiar  to  us  in  the  earliest 
strata  of  production  all  over  the  Mediterranean  coast-lands— 
prehistoric  polygonal  masonry,  a  beehive  tomb,  incised  bucchero 
nero  vases  and  so  forth.  Their  later  and  finer  work  shows 
a  distinct  cousinship  with  that  of  Greece  though  sometimes 
curiously  debased  and  uncouth  in  spirit.  In  bronze- working 
they  were  very  skilful.*  They  developed  painting  to  a  high 
pitch  in  early  times,  and  the  British  Museum  possesses  some 
interesting  examples  from  Caere.  It  was  indeed  believed  by 
Pliny  that  Corinthian  painters  had  settled  in  Etruria,  that 
being  the  usual  account  by  which  the  ancients  explained 
resemblances.  But  we  may  believe  that  the  art  of  painting 
is  indigenous  on  the  soil  of  Tuscany.  Their  pottery  is  very 
similar  to  that  of  Greece.f  It  appears  that  the  flourishing 
period  of  Etruscan  art  coincided  with  that  of  the  greatest 

*  Plate  5.  f  Plate  6 



extent  of  their  empire,  namely,  the  sixth  and  early  fifth  centuries 
Their  plastic  work  was  mostly  in  terra-cotta,  for  the 


native  marbles  do  not  seem  to  have  been  quarried.     Some  of 
their  terra-cotta  coffins,  adorned  with  conventional  portraits  of 

Etruscan  Fresco  :  Head  of  Hercules 

the  deceased  and  finished  off  by  the  application  of  paint,  show 
considerable  technical  skill,  but  always  that  strange  grotesque 
spirit.*  From  all  accounts  these  Etruscans  were  a  superstitious 
and  cruel  race.  It  was  from  them  that  the  Romans  learnt 
their  bloody  craft  of  divination  by  the  inspection  of  the 
entrails  of  newly  slain  victims,  and  there  is  little  doubt  that  the 
victims  had  not  always  been  the  lower  animals.  We  are  told 
that  the  insignia  of  royalty  at  Rome — the  toga  with  scarlet 

*  Plate  7. 



or  purple  stripes,  the  toga  with  purple  border,  the  sceptre  of 
ivory,  the  curule  chair,  the  twelve  lictors  with  their  axes  in 
bundles  of  rods — were  borrowed  from  the  Etruscans.  Thus 
it  seems  that  the  ancient  garb  of  the  Roman  citizen,  a  tunic 
covered  by  a  long  mantle  or  toga,  a  costume  which  is 

Prehistoric  Etruscan  Pottery 

essentially  the  same  as  the  chiton  and  himation  of  the  Greeks, 
started  as  a  fashion  introduced  by  their  more  civilised  northern 
neighbours.  1 1  seems  clear  also  that  the  earliest  Roman  art,  the 
decoration  of  temples  with  painted  terra-cotta  ornaments,  was 
Etruscan  in  origin.  Some  of  the  earliest  statues  of  the  gods 
seem  to  have  been  painted,  for  we  hear  of  a  very  ancient 
red  Jupiter.  Thus  there  is  some  probability  that  Rome  passed 
through  a  period,  perhaps  in  the  sixth  century,  of  alien  rule 
and  alien  civilisation.  Remembering  the  cousinship  between 
Greece  and  Etruria  we  shall  find  that  Rome  had  been  pre- 
pared for  the  reception  of  Greek  culture  in  very  early 








The  fifth  century  seems  to  have  been  a  period  of  decline 
for  the  Etruscan  power.  The  Greek  republics,  with,  as  I 
hope  we  agreed,  their  northern 
stiffening,  had  advanced  far 
beyond  their  Etruscan  kinsmen 
in  intelligence,  and  the  tyrant 
Hiero  of  Syracuse  defeated 
them  in  a  great  sea-fight  in 
474  B.C.  It  is  agreeable  to 
the  historian  to  have  a  fact 
so  certain  and  a  date  so  well 
attested  in  all  the  wilderness 
of  legend  that  surrounds  the 
early  history  of  Italy.  Then 
the  warlike  hill  tribes  of  the 
Southern  Apennines  began  to 
press  upon  their  southern 
colonies,  and  finally  the  Gauls 
from  the  north  swept  down 
upon  Etruria  at  the  beginning 
of  the  fourth  century  and  broke 
up  their  declining  empire  for 
ever.  It  was  probably  during 
this  period  that  the  Romans  ex- 
pelled their  Etruscan  princes, 
and  replaced  royalty  by  a  pair 
of  equal  colleagues  sharing 
most  of  the  royal  power  and 
regal  emblems  except  crown 
and  sceptre.  So  we  get  to 
the  Rome  of  the  earliest 
credible  tradition  —  a  Rome 
governed  by  two  consuls  and 
a  senate  of  nobles.  It  is  a  city 
composed  of  farm-houses  and  The  Roman  Toga 

in  each  house  the  head  of  the  family  rules  in  patriarchal  majesty. 




Thus  it  is  necessary  to  throw  overboard  a  great  mass  of 
edifying  and  famous  history  in  the  interest  of  youth.      There 
were  no  contemporary  records,   the  annals  and  fasti  upon 
which  Livy's  immediate  predecessors  relied  in  the  first  century 
B.C.  are  demonstrably  of  late  concoction.     Everywhere  we 
can  see  the  influence  of  Greek  artists  importing   fragments 
of  Greek  history,  rationalising  names  and  customs,  antedating 
and  reduplicating  later  constitutional  struggles,  writing  appro- 
priate speeches  for  early  parliamentarians  who  never  existed, 
and  generally  demonstrating  the  power  of  Greek  invention  to 
flatter  Roman  credulity.      The  great  families  of  200  B.C.  and 
onwards  found  themselves  as  rich  and  powerful  as  nabobs  ; 
they  had  great  historic  names,  and  when  there  was  a  funeral 
in  the  family  they  sent  out  a  long  procession  of  waxen  images 
to    represent    the    noble    ancestors    of  the    deceased.     At 
such  times  there  would  be  funeral  orations  recounting  the 
deeds    of  those   heroic    ancestors.       Every    family   had    its 
traditions,    as   glorious   and   as   authentic  as   those   of    the 
descendants   of    Brian    Boru.     When   literature    came  into 
fashion  and  needy  Greek  scribes  offered  a  plausible  stilus  to 
any  rich  patron,  Roman  history  began  to  exist,  sometimes 
bearing   respectable    Roman   names   but   always  written  in 
Greek.     It  is  thus  that  we  get  the  series  of  heroic  actions 
attributed  to  Fabii  and  Horatii  and  deeds  of  wicked  pride 
ascribed  to  ancestral  Claudii.     Whatever  it  may  cost  us  in 
pangs  for  the  fate  of  pretty  tales  I  fear  we  must  not  scruple 
to  use  the  knife  freely  in  this  region  of  literary  history.     A 
glance  at  the  following  coincidences  will  help  to  allay  our 
scruples :  Tarquin  the  Roman  tyrant  was  driven  out  in  the 
same    year    as    Hippias    the   Athenian    tyrant    (510   B.C.)  ; 
the  Twelve  Tables  at  Rome  were   drawn  up  in  the  same 
year   as  the  code  of  Protagoras  at  Thurii  (45 1    B.C.)  ;  300 
Fabii  died  to  a  man  in  the  battle  of  Cremera  just  about  the 
same  time  as  300  Spartans  died  to  a  man  with  Leonidas  at 


Thermopylae  in  480  B.C.  To  put  it  briefly  :  Nothing  anterior 
to  the  Gallic  invasion  of  390  B.C.  and  very  little  for  nearly 
another  century  can  be  accepted  on  literary  evidence  alone. 

So  far  as  we  can  read  the  stones,  the  earliest  Rome  con- 
sisted of  a  settlement  on  the  Palatine  Hill,  with  a  citadel 
and  a  temple  on  the  Capitol,  and  with  a  forum  or  market  on 
the  low  ground  between  them.  On  the  Esquiline  Hill  was  a 
plebeian  settlement.  It  was  a  pastoral  and  agricultural  com- 
munity, expressing  wealth  in  terms  of  cattle,  ploughing  and 
reaping  so  much  of  the  Campagna  as  their  farmers  could 
reach  in  a  day  or  their  armies  protect.  From  the  very  earliest/ 
times  the  community  consisted  of  a  few  great  houses  of 
patrician  blood  with  numerous  clients  and  slaves.  In  every 
house  the  father  was  king  absolute,  with  power  of  life  and 
death  over  his  sons,  daughters,  and  slaves.  Daughters  passed 
from  the  hand  of  the  father  to  the  hand  of  the  husband,  like 
any  other  property,  by  a  form  of  sale.  Out  of  remote 
antiquity  comes  a  piece  of  genuine  Latin  : 


— "  If  a  boy  beats  his  father  and  the  father  complains  let  the 
boy  be  devoted  to  the  gods  of  parents,"  i.e.  slain  as  a  sacrifice. 
It  was  a  commonwealth  of  such  parents — no  republican  lovers 
of  liberty,  be  sure — whose  chiefs  met  to  discuss  policy  in  the 
temple,  as  the  Senate,  and  who  themselves  assembled  in  a 
body,  fully  armed,  as  the  comitium,  to  vote  upon  the  Senate's 
decrees  conveyed  by  the  consuls. 

Grim  and  despotic  in  peace  these  Roman  aristocrats  were 
fierce  and  tenacious  in  war.  As  soon  as  she  was  free,  if  not 
earlier,  Rome  appeared  as  a  member  of  the  Latin  League 
which  ruled  over  the  Plain  of  Latium  under  the  presidency  of 
Alba  Longa.  This  piece  of  tradition  is  attested  by  many 
survivals  in  ritual.  Her  earliest  wars  were  against  neighbours 
like  Gabii,  whose  very  name  made  the  later  Romans  smile, 
so  insignificant  a  village  it  was.  It  was  in  these  little  contests 



that  the  early  Romans  learnt  their  trade  as  warriors,  and  if 
any  one  seeks  to  know  the  causes  of  Rome's  victorious  career 
the  answer  is,  I  suppose,  that  she  fought  very  bravely  and 
obeyed  her  generals  better  than  her  enemies  obeyed  theirs. 
•  Discipline  was  her  secret,  and  discipline  came,  no  doubt, 
from  the  strict  patriarchal  system  in  her  homes,  a  system 
assuredly  not  of  Mediterranean  birth. 

Whether  the  geese  who  cackled  were  authentic  or  merely 
setiological  fowls  I  know  not,  but  it  is  certain  that  Rome  did 
not  suffer  so  severely  from  the  Gallic  invasion  as  did  her 
neighbours  across  the  Tiber.  Probably  it  was  only  the  last 
wave  of  a  great  invasion  which  reached  as  far  as  Rome,  burnt 
the  Palatine  settlement  and  the  humble  wattled  dwellings  of 
the  poor  on  the  Esquiline,  and  failed  to  storm  the  Capitol. 
At  any  rate  the  Gallic  invasion  of  390  B.C.  seems  to  have 
started  the  Romans  on  their  career  of  conquest,  mainly  at  the 
expense  of  the  Etruscans.  But  there  were  incessant  wars 
with  all  her  neighbours  ;  every  summer  the  army  marched 
out  as  a  matter  of  course.  If  it  was  not  a  decaying  Etruscan 
town  to  be  taken  by  siege  it  was  a  Latin  neighbour,  or  failing 
them  a  Volscian  or  Sabine  community  from  the  hills.  Summer, 
while  the  corn  could  be  left  to  do  its  own  growing,  was  the 
time  for  battle.  To  have  been  at  peace  in  summer  would 
have  been  slackness,  to  wage  war  in  winter  a  grave  solecism. 
So  in  short  space  Rome  became  an  important  little  town, 
head  of  the  Latin  League  and  probably  the  strongest  unit  in 
Central  Italy.  It  appears  that  she  began  about  now  to 
emerge  into  international  notice  by  the  great  powers,  for  we 
have  a  treaty  of  348  B.C.,  which  may  probably  be  accepted  as 
genuine  though  the  actual  date  is  not  so  certain,  between 
Rome  and  Carthage,  wherein  the  Romans,  in  consideration 
of  promising  not  to  trade  in  Carthaginian  waters,  are  per- 
mitted to  do  business  with  the  Carthaginian  ports  in  Sicily 
and  acknowledged  as  suzerains  of  the  Latin  League.  Thus 
Rome  has  apparently  by  this  time  some  overseas  traffic. 

If  no  other  art,  diplomacy  seems  always  to  have  been  at 


home  on  Roman  soil,  and  in  all  her  works  Rome  shows  a 
genius  for  statecraft.  It  must  have  been  at  some  very  early 
date  that  she  discovered  her  great  secret  of  divide  et  impera. 
She  had  already  become  so  far  the  greatest  power  in  the 
Latin  League,  that  she  had  equal  rights  with  all  the  others 
combined.  The  allies,  it  seems,  claimed  to  supply  the  general 
of  the  allied  army  on  alternate  days  and  to  have  a  half- 
share  of  the  plunder.  Against  these  very  modest  demands 
Rome  was  firm.  She  fought  the  League  and  beat  it  in  338  ; 
then  she  divided  and  ruled  the  cities.  With  each  she  made  a 
separate  treaty,  granting  to  each  two  of  the  rights  of  citizen- 
ship— the  right  to  trade  and  the  right  to  marry  with  her 
citizens.  But  she  allowed  no  such  rights  between  the  other 
members  of  the  League,  however  close  neighbours  they 
might  be.  In  this  way  Rome  became  the  staple  market  of 
all  Latium  ;  all  traffic  passed  through  her  hands  and  her 
wealth  and  population  increased. 

These  city-states  had  no  means  of  ruling  otherwise 
than  tyrannically.  Their  whole  constitution  forbade  it.  We 
have  seen  elsewhere  *  that  citizenship  in  a  city-state  implied 
membership  of  a  corporate  body,  a  close  partnership  in  a 
company  of  unlimited  liability  with  very  definite  privileges 
and  responsibilities.  Full  citizenship  at  Rome  meant  a  vote 
in  electing  the  city  magistrates  and  a  vote  in  the  comitium, 
which  decided  matters  like  peace  and  war.  It  was  obvious 
that  you  had  to  be  very  jealous  about  extending  these  rights 
to  outsiders.  But  Rome  went  part  of  the  way,  granted  parts 
of  the  citizen  rights,  and  thereby  showed  finer  imperial  state- 
craft than  any  Greek  state  had  yet  discovered.  Her  first 
offshoot  was  Ostia,  the  town  she  planted  at  the  mouth  of  her 
river  only  fifteen  miles  off,  her  first  Colonia.  The  men  of 
Ostia  remained  citizens  of  Rome,  and  might  vote  in  the 
elections  if  they  thought  it  worth  while,  but  were  exempt 
from  the  duty  of  serving  in  the  army  because  their  own  town 
formed  a  standing  garrison  in  the  Roman  service.  Then 
*  See  "  The  Glory  that  was  Greece,"  pp.  10-11,  &c. 



when  the  Romans  made  conquests  in  Etruria  or  Campania 
or  any  region  where  the  natives  spoke  a  foreign  language 
and  therefore  could  not  fight  in  the  legions  under  Roman 
officers,  they  would  receive  the  "citizenship  without  vote," 
which  enabled  them  simply  to  trade  and  marry  like  Romans. 
Thirdly,  some  of  the  Latin  towns  became  merely  municipia, 
that  is,  country  towns  enjoying  full  Roman  citizenship  if  they 
came  to  the  city,  but  at  home  a  local  constitution  with 
considerable  powers  of  self-government  and  a  magistracy 
modelled  on  that  of  Rome,  namely,  senators  and  consuls 
under  other  names.  All  this  granting  of  rights — without 
any  tribute — was,  according  to  the  ways  of  ancient  city-states, 
surprising  generosity  or  the  deepest  statesmanship.  Already 
•Rome  begins  to  show  the  genius  of  empire-building  :  she  was 
relentless  and  unscrupulous  in  conquering,  but  generous  and 
broad-minded  in  governing.  Such  was  the  wisdom  of  her 
council  of  despots— the  Senate. 

Nevertheless  these  "allies"  were  more  sensible  of  the 
liberties  they  had  lost  than  of  the  rights  they  had  gained  by 
coming  under  the  expanding  wing  of  Rome.  The  latter 
part  of  the  fourth  century  shows  the  growing  state  embarked 
upon  a  terrific  struggle  which  lasted  on  and  off  from  summer 
to  summer  for  nearly  fifty  years.  Her  principal  foes  were 
the  warlike  Samnites  of  the  Southern  Apennines,  closely 
akin,  it  seems,  to  the  dominant  race  at  Rome.  This 
tremendous  conflict  is  clearly  the  turning-point  of  Roman 
history.  At  various  stages  nearly  all  the  peoples  of  Italy 
rose  and  enrolled  themselves  among  the  enemy,  the  Latins, 
the  Etruscans,  the  Umbrians,  the  Marsi,  the  Gauls  (for  they 
too  were  brought  in  again  by  the  Etruscans  in  their  last 
efforts  for  freedom)  and  the  Samnites  themselves,  a  race  of 
born  fighters  under  competent  generals.  Once,  in  321  B.C., 
both  consuls  and  the  entire  army  of  Rome  were  entrapped  at 
the  Caudine  Pass,  but  Rome  never  thought  of  surrender. 
Doggedly  her  Senate  refused  to  know  when  it  was  beaten 
and  continued  the  struggle.  Fortunately  it  was  one  purpose 


against  many,  and  Rome  beat  her  enemies  in  detail  until  she 
was  able  to  emerge  victorious. 

The  history  of  that  great  conflict  has  come  down  to  us  in 
an  incomplete  state  full  of  fairy-tales  and  omissions,  but  it  is 
clear  that  the  Roman  Senate  showed  extraordinary  resolution 
and  tenacity,  as  it  did  in  the  next  century  against  foreign 
enemies.     Beaten  to  its  knees  again  and  again  it  refused  any 
terms  of  peace  short  of  victory.     That  is  a  marvellous  thing, 
if  Rome  was  really  one  among  many  towns  of  Latium.     It  is 
to  be  noted  that  this  was  the  war  in  which  she  learnt  the  new 
system  of  fighting  whereby  she  was    fated    to   conquer  the 
world.     Hitherto  in  ancient  warfare  a  battle  array  had  meant 
a  solid  line  in  which  the  men  stood  shoulder  to  shoulder  in 
several  ranks,  pressing  on  with  spear  and  shield  against  a 
similar   line    of  the  enemy.      It  was  largely  a  question  of 
weight  in  the  impact.      You  tried  to  make  your  line  deep 
enough  to  prevent  yielding  and  long  enough  to  envelop  the 
enemy's  flank  :    once  you  could  turn  or  break  the  enemy's 
line  victory  was  yours.      But  the   Romans,  either  because 
they  were  often  outnumbered  on  the  field  of  battle,  or,  as 
some  say,   in  fighting  the  Gallic  warriors    with    their   long 
swords,  found  it  necessary  to  fight  not  shoulder  to  shoulder 
but    in    open    order — not    in    a   solid  phalanx  but   in  open 
companies  or  "maniples."     This  had  afar-reaching  effect  :  it 
made  every  Roman  soldier  a  self-reliant  unit,  who  could  fence 
skilfully  with  his  favourite  weapon,  the  sword,  instead  of  merely 
pushing  a  long  pike  as  his  neighbours  did.      It  is  clear  that  only 
an  army  of  natural  soldiers  could  have  adopted  such  an  in- 
novation successfully.     Once  established,  it  made  the  Roman 
soldier  invincible.     The  maniple  of  200  men  was  not  only  far 
more  mobile  than  a  solid  phalanx,  but  it  covered  a  length  of 
ground  equal  to  that  of  three  times  its  own  numbers.     Formerly 
only  the  front  rank — the  principes — had  required  a  full  suit  of 
armour  and  it  was  only  the  richest  who  could  afford  it.     Now 
the  whole  army  had  to  be  properly  equipped,  and  this  reacted 
upon  the  social  and  political  system  of  the  city. 




In  ancient  times  a  man's  rights  as  citizen  depended  entirely 
upon  his  duties  as  a  soldier.  The  comittum  was  the  army, 
and  the  preponderance  of  voting  power  went  to  the  rich  who 
could  afford  a  panoply.  Now  the  soldiers  were  equalised 
and  therefore  the  citizens  claimed  equality.  We  cannot  put 
much  faith  in  Livy's  story  of  the  struggle  between  the  two 
orders  for  political  equality ;  the  details,  which  include 
elaborate  reports  of  the  speeches  delivered,  are  clearly  free 
compositions  based  upon  much  later  controversies  between  the 
republicans  and  democrats  of  Livy's  own  earlier  days.  There 
is  a  great  deal  of  confusion  and  contradiction  in  the  accounts 
of  the  various  legislative  measures  by  which  the  plebeians 
were  gradually  admitted  to  equality  with  the  patricians.  But 
the  story  of  the  Secession  of  the  Plebs — there  are  two  such 
stories,  but  probably  that  is  the  result  of  duplication — is  so 
distinctive  and  peculiarly  Roman  that  it  scarcely  seems  like 
an  invention.  To  put  it  shortly,  the  plebeians  won  their 
rights  by  means  of  that  very  modern  weapon — a  strike. 
Being  refused  the  rights  for  which  they  were  agitating,  they 
refused  to  join  the  citizen  levy,  but  marched  out  under  arms 
to  the  neighbouring  Sacred  Mount,  and  threatened  to  set  up 
a  new  Rome  of  their  own  there.  The  political  instinct  was 
healthy  and  strong  among  them  :  the  plebeians  formed  them- 
selves into  a  second  corporation  organised  like  the  patricians. 
Where  the  patricians  had  their  two  consuls  with  two  praetors 
under  them,  the  plebeians  had  their  two  tribunes  and  two 
aediles.  Where  the  patrician  army  had  its  comitium  meeting 
in  groups  called  "curies,"  the  plebeians  had  their  assembly 
•^meeting  in  tribes.  So  the  new  magistracies  and  the  new 
meetings  became  part  and  parcel  of  the  Roman  republic. 
The  tribunes  were  protected  not  so  much  by  laws  as  by  an 
oath  :  their  persons  were  declared  sacred,  and  they  had  the 
right  to  thrust  their  sacred  persons  between  the  plebeian 
offender  and  the  consul's  lictor  who  came  to  arrest  him,  thus 


expressing  the  ultimate  sovereignty  of  the  army  of  Roman 
citizens.     That  is,  in  broad  outline,  how  the  story  of  political 
equality  at  Rome  has  come  down  to  us.     But  it  must  not  be 
supposed  that  even  now  the  Roman  republic  was  in  anything 
but  externals  like  the  Greek  democracy.     The  Roman  comitia 
never  debated  like  the  Athenian  ecclesia.     They  assembled 
to  listen  to  such  speeches  as  the  magistrates  or  their  invited 
friends  might  choose  to  make  upon  topics  which  had  pre- 
viously been  selected,  discussed  and  decreed  by  the  senate  ; 
they  were  there  to  ratify  the  senate's  decisions  with  "  Yes  " 
or  "  No."     Even  then  they  did  not  vote  as  individuals  ;  each 
"  century,"  each  "  cury,"  or  each  "  tribe,"  according  to  the  form 
of  meeting  summoned,  was  a  single  voting  unit.     Everything 
in  the  system  tended  to  put  real  power  into  the  hands  of  the 
executive.      When  you   get   the  executive  able  to  control 
policy  you  get  efficiency,  but  if  you  want  liberty  you  must 
adopt  other  means.     The  senate  at  Rome  gradually  came  to 
consist  entirely  of  retired  magistrates,  and  so  to  exhibit  all 
the  knowledge,  competence,  experience,  and  bigoted  self-con- 
fidence which  we  expect  from  retired  functionaries. 

The  republican  constitution  had  invented  two  devices  to 
save  itself  from  tyranny,  and,  according  to  tradition,  had 
invented  them  at  the  very  beginning  of  republicanism.  One 
was  the  collegial  system  by  which  every  magistracy  was  held 
in  commission  by  two  or  more  colleagues.  There  were  two 
consuls  from  the  first,  sharing  between  them  most  of  the 
royal  prerogatives,  heads  of  the  executive  in  peace  and 
supreme  generals  in  war,  with  power  of  life  and  death,  or  full 
imperium,  at  any  rate  on  the  field  of  battle.  There  was  at 
first  only  one  praetor,  for  he  was  then  merely  the  consuls' 
lieutenant  in  time  of  war ;  but  when,  as  soon  happened,  the 
praetor  became  a  judge  in  time  of  peace,  that  office,  too,  was 
given  to  a  pair  of  colleagues.  There  were,  it  is  said,  at 
first  two  tribunes  of  the  plebs,  principally  charged  with  the 
protection  and  leadership  of  their  own  order  ;  but  as  the  city 
grew  their  numbers  were  increased  to  ten.  So  there  were 

two  sediles,  who  principally  looked  after  affairs  of  police  in 
the  city.  There  were  two  censors,  ranking  highest  of  all  in 
the  hierarchy  of  office  because  their  sphere  was  so  largely 
connected  with  religion.  Their  duty  was  to  number  the 
people  and  to  expiate  that  insult  to  heaven  with  a  solemn  rite 
of  purification.  In  numbering  they  also  had  to  assess  every 
man's  property  for  the  purpose  of  fixing  his  rank  in  the  army 
and  in  the  state.  All  these  magistrates  had  powers  of  juris- 
diction in  various  spheres.  All  the  priests  and  prophets,  too, 
of  whom  there  were  many  varieties,  were  formed  into  colleges. 
Only  the  pontifex  maximus  stood  alone  without  a  colleague 
— and  he  had  an  official  wife.  We  are  too  familiar  with  the 
working  of  "  boards  "  and  "  commissions  "  to  misunderstand 
the  purpose  of  this  system.  Theory  required  unanimity  in 
each  board  ;  each  member  of  it  had  power  to  stop  action  by 
the  others,  one  powerful  weapon  to  that  end  being  the  reli- 
gious system  whereby  nothing  could  be  attempted  without 
favourable  omens.  You  had  only  to  announce  unpropitious 
auspices  to  stop  any  action  whatever. 

The  other  great  check  against  official  tyranny  was  the 
system  of  annual  tenure.  All  magistrates,  except  the  censors, 
who  had  a  lengthy  task  before  them  and  therefore  held  office 
for  five  years,  were  annual.  While  this  was  some  safeguard 
for  liberty,  it  told  heavily  against  efficiency,  especially  in  the 
case  of  military  leadership  by  the  consuls.  It  also  meant  the 
gradual  creation  of  a  great  number  of  office-holders,  past  and 
present.  It  was  not  quite  so  effective  as  the  corresponding 
Athenian  system  of  balloting  for  office  in  checking  personal 
eminence,  but  it  certainly  succeeded  in  putting  a  great 
number  of  nonentities  and  failures  into  high  office — even  the 
supreme  command  of  the  legions. 


It  is  only  very  dimly  that  we  can  trace  the  outlines  of 
public  history  as  Rome  grew  to  be  a  power  in  Italy.  We 
can  scarcely  hope  to  trace  the  lineaments  of  the  individual 


Roman  even  in  outline.  It  is  sometimes  said  that  even  if  the 
earliest  history  of  the  city  is  admitted  to  be  apocryphal,  we 
can  draw  valuable  deductions  as  to  the  Roman  character 
from  the  sort  of  actions  which  were  regarded  as  praise- 
worthy in  the  earliest  times.  There  is  some  truth  in 
that  view,  though  it  might  be  objected  that  most  of  these 
stories  took  literary  shape  only  in  the  second  and  first  cen- 
turies B.C.  It  might  be  added  that  men  often  admire  qualities 
just  because  they  feel  that  they  themselves  cannot  claim  them. 
But,  on  the  whole,  I  think  we  can  get  from  this  period 
of  legendary  history  some  insight  into  Roman  character. 
There  is  a  remarkable  difference  between  the  Roman 
hero  and  the  Greek.  Greek  mythology  busies  itself  very 
largely  with  stories  of  cleverness — how  Heracles  outwitted 
his  foes,  smart  Equivoques  by  the  oracles,  ingenious  devices  of 
Themistocles,  wise  sayings  of  Thales  and  Solon.  It  is 
mainly  the  intellectual  virtues  that  Greek  history  of  the 
borderland  admires.  But  the  Roman  of  the  same  historical 
area  is  not  clever.  Most  of  the  old  Roman  stories  are  in 
praise  of  courage — for  example,  the  contempt  of  pain  shown 
by  Scaevola,  who  held  his  right  hand  in  the  flames  to  demon- 
strate Roman  fortitude ;  the  courage  of  the  maiden  Clcelia, 
who  swam  the  river,  or  of  Horatius,  who  held  the  bridge 
against  an  army;  the  devotion  to  his  country  of  Quintus 
Curtius,  who  leapt  in  full  armour  into  the  chasm  which  had 
opened  in  the  Forum.  Many  of  them  celebrate  the  true 
Roman  virtue  of  sternness  and  austere  devotion  to  law,  as 
when  the  Roman  fathers  condemned  their  sons  to  death  for 
breaking  the  law  under  most  excusable  circumstances.  The 
love  of  liberty  is  extolled  in  Brutus,  the  love  of  equality  in 
Valerius  and  Cincinnatus,  called  from  the  plough-tail  to 
supreme  command.  Austere  chastity  in  females  and  the 
strict  demand  for  it  in  their  proprietors  is  praised  in  the 
stories  of  Lucretia  and  Virginia.  All  these  we  may  well  set 
down  as  the  virtues  admired  and,  we  hope,  practised  in  early 
Rome ;  they  form  a  consistent  and  quite  distinctive  picture. 

c  33 


But  the  early  Roman  had  few  accomplishments  to  embel- 
lish his  virtues.  Art  and  civilisation  either  did  not  exist  or 
have  perished  without  leaving  any  traces.  It  is  likely  enough 
that  all  the  city's  energies  were  occupied  with  the  one  busi 
ness  of  fighting.  Some  hints  of  civilising  reform  hang  about 
the  name  of  Appius  Claudius,  who  was  censor  about  318- 
312  B.C.  In  his  time  we  date  some  of  the  military  changes 
mentioned  above,  and  they  seem  to  have  accompanied 
economic  changes  which  point  to  growing  wealth  at  Rome. 
Copper  gave  place  to  silver  as  the  standard  of  exchange,  and 
therewith  the  copper  as  depreciated  in  value,  so  that  the 
Roman  unit  of  historical  times,  the  sestertius  of  2\  as  value, 
was  a  coin  worth  about  2,d,  Land  was  no  longer  the  sole 
basis  of  property ;  it  became  possible  for  a  man  to  become 
rich  by  trade,  and  accordingly  landless  citizens  were  now 
drafted  into  the  ancient  tribes  for  the  first  time.  To  this 
great  censor  also  belongs  the  first  of  the  famous  Roman 
military  roads,  the  Appian  Way,  which  led  southwards  to  the 
Greek  cities  of  Campania.  Even  to-day  the  Via  Appia, 
flanked  with  its  ruined  tombs — for  the  Romans  often  buried 
their  dead  along  the  highways — running  like  a  dart  across 
the  barren  Campagna,  is  one  of  the  most  striking  spectacles 
which  modern  Rome  has  to  offer.* 

Of  anything  which  can  be  dignified  with  the  name  of 
literature  we  have  scarcely  a  relic.  What  there  is  seems 
ludicrously  rustic  and  uncouth.  Consider,  for  an  example, 
the  ancient  hymn  of  the  Salii,  the  jumping  priests  of  Mars. 
There  were  twelve  of  them,  all  men  of  patrician  family ; 
they  dressed  in  embroidered  tunics,  with  the  striped  toga,  a 
breastplate  of  bronze,  a  conical  cap  with  a  spike  ;  they  carried 
each  a  sacred  shield,  and  as  they  made  their  annual  proces- 
sions through  the  city  at  the  beginning  of  each  campaigning 
year,  they  leaped  into  the  air  and  thumped  their  shields 
with  sticks ;  trumpeters  preceded  them,  and  they  sang  this 
ghostly  chant  : 

*    Plate  §.'" 








TRIVMPE  (quinquies) 
which  is  probably  to  be  translated  : 

Help  us,  O  Lares  (thrice) 

And,  O  Mars,  let  not    plague  or  ruin  attack  our 

people  (thrice) 
Be  content,  fierce  Mars.    Leap  the  threshold.    Halt. 

Strike  (thrice) 

In  alternate  strain  call  upon  all  the  heroes,     (thrice) 
Help  us,  Mars  (thrice) 
Leap  (jive  times). 


In  our  quest  for  the  essential  Roman  we  shall  find  nothing 
more  illuminating  than  religion.  With  some  people  culture 
takes  the  place  of  religion,  but  it  is  far  commoner  to  find 
religion  taking  the  place  of  culture:  it  did  so  with  the 
Hebrews,  and  it  does  so  to  a  great  extent  among  the 
English.  The  Romans  were  never  a  really  religious  people. 
Probably  they  lacked  the  imagination  to  be  really  devout. 
They  had  scarcely  any  native  mythology.  But  they  were 
ritualists  and  formalists  to  the  heart's  core.  If  those  Salii 
had  jumped  only  four  times  at  the  word  "  Triumpe,"  the 
whole  value  of  the  rite  would  have  been  lost :  if  no  worse 
thing  befell  them  they  would  have  had  to  begin  again  from  the 
beginning.  Thus  religion,  always  conservative,  and  generally 
the  richest  hunting-ground  for  the  antiquarian  in  search  of 
prehistoric  history,  is  almost  our  only  source  of  information 
as  to  the  mind  of  the  early  Roman.  Of  course,  Roman 
religion  is  so  deeply  overlaid  with  Greek  mythology  that  it 
takes  some  digging  to  discover  the  real  gods  of  old  Rome. 
But  that  is  being  done  by  the  patience  and  insight  of  such 
scholars  as  Mr.  Warde  Fowler  and  Dr.  J.  G.  Frazer,  so  that 



we  now  have  a  good  deal  of  information  about  the  original 
Roman  religion. 

Mr.  Warde  Fowler  makes  two  important  conclusions 
about  the  early  Romans  from  his  study  of  the  twofold 
character  of  Mars,  who,  in  spite  of  the  later  primacy  of 
Jupiter,  is  undoubtedly  the  true  Roman  male  god:  "(i)  that 
their  life  and  habits  of  thought  were  those  of  an  agricultural 
race,  and  (2)  that  they  continually  increased  their  cultivable 
land  by  taking  forcible  possession  in  war  of  that  of  their 
neighbours."  This  was  the  Roman  method  of  making  agri- 
culture pay.  The  spring  of  the  year  and  the  month  which 
still  bears  the  name  of  Mars  was  not  only  the  season  of 
returning  life  to  nature,  but  it  was  also  the  time  when  the 
god  and  his  worshippers  buckled  on  their  armour  to  seek 
fresh  ploughlands,  just  as  did  the  primitive  Germans.  It  was 
Europe's  first  method  of  extensive  farming,  and  the  habit 
clung  to  the  Romans  long  after  they  had  ceased  to  be  farmers. 
In  the  spring  it  was  time  to  look  about  you  and  consider  where 
and  with  whom  you  should  begin  to  fight  this  year. 

Some  of  these  old  Roman  festivals  are  worth  a  brief 
description,  for  they  and  they  alone  are  the  authentic  history 
of  the  early  Romans.  For  example,  on  the  Ides  of  March 
the  lower  classes  streamed  out  to  the  Campus  Martius  on  the 
banks  of  the  river  and  spent  the  day  in  rustic  jollity  with  wine 
and  song  in  honour  of  Anna  Perenna — the  recurring  year. 
On  another  day  there  was  a  ceremony  like  that  of  the  Hebrew 
scapegoat.  Two  dates  in  the  calendar  are  marked  for  the 
king  to  dissolve  the  comitia.  The  assembly  had  to  be  sum- 
moned by  the  blast  of  special  trumpets  of  peculiar  un-Italian 
shape  (some  say  Etruscan),  and  the  trumpets  had  to  be  purified 
by  a  special  service  on  the  previous  day.  Although  the 
Romans  abolished  their  political  kingship,  religion  required 
the  retention  of  the  title  for  numerous  ceremonial  purposes. 
Then  there  were  the  Parilia  in  honour  of  the  old  shepherd 
god  Pales,  when  sheepfolds  were  garlanded  with  green,  the 
sheep  were  purified  at  the  dawn,  and  rustic  sacrifices  were 


paid  to  avert  the  wrath  of  the  deity  in  case  you  had  unwit- 
tingly disturbed  one  of  the  mysterious  powers  who  dwell  in 
the  country — the  nymphs  and  fauns  of  pool  and  spring  and 
tree.  There  was  a  prayer  to  this  effect  of  which  Ovid  has 
given  us  the  substance,  and  "this  prayer,"  adds  Mr. Warde 
Fowler,  "  must  be  said  four  times  over,  the  shepherd  looking 
to  the  east,  and  wetting  his  hands  with  the  morning  dew. 
The  position,  the  holy  water,  and  the  prayer  in  its  substance, 
though  now  addressed  to  the  Virgin,  have  all  descended  to 
the  Catholic  shepherds  of  the  Campagna."  There  were  other 
primitive  agricultural  deities,  such  as  Robigus  (the  red  rust 
on  the  corn),  on  whose  festival  you  sacrificed  red  puppies ; 
Terminus  (the  boundary  god),  to  whom  you  slaughtered  a 
sucking-pig  on  the  boundary  stone  ;  or  Ops  Consiva,  the  deity 
who  protected  your  buried  store  of  corn.  Such  names  and 
their  attributes  indicate  a  certain  poverty  of  religious  imagi- 
nation. There  were  more  abstract,  or,  rather,  less  tangible 
powers,  such  as  Lares,  the  spirits  of  the  dead  ancestors  who 
figured  as  guardian  angels  of  the  home ;  the  Penates,  the 
spirits  who  watched  over  the  store-cupboard ;  the  Genius,  a 
man's  luck ;  the  Manes,  the  kindly  dead ;  or  the  Lemures, 
dangerous  ghosts  of  the  unburied.  The  house,  like  the  fields, 
was  full  of  unseen  presences  to  be  appeased  with  appropriate 
ritual,  which  had  to  be  most  punctiliously  performed.  Every 
year  at  the  Lemuria  the  master  of  the  house  would  rise  at 
midnight  and,  with  clean  hands  and  bare  feet,  walk  through 
the  house,  making  a  special  sign  with  his  fingers  and  thumbs 
to  keep  off  the  ghosts.  He  fills  his  mouth  with  black  beans 
and  spits  them  out  as  he  goes,  carefully  keeping  his  eyes 
averted,  and  saying,  "  With  these  I  redeem  me  and  mine. 
Nine  times  he  speaks  these  words  without  looking  round,  and 
the  ghosts  come  behind  him  unseen  to  gather  up  the  beans. 
Then  the  father  washes  himself  again,  and  clashes  the  pots 
together  to  frighten  the  spirits  away.  When  he  has  repeated 
the  words  "  Depart,  ye  kindly  spirits  of  our  ancestors  "  nine 
times,  he  looks  round  at  last  and  the  ceremony  is  complete. 



The  history  of  Rome,  as  Mr.  Warde  Fowler  discerns  it  in 
religion,  begins  with  an  extremely  simple  rustic  worship  of 
natural  forms,  meteoric  stones,  sacred  trees  and  animals  such 
as  the  Mother  Wolf  or  Mars'  woodpeckers ;  to  this  stage 
belong  many  of  the  curious  spells  and  charms  against  ghosts. 
This  sort  of  worship  is  not  distinctively  Roman,  but  common 
to  the  greater  part  of  Central  Europe.  From  these  savage 
local  cults  we  pass  to  the  more  centralised  worship  which 
belongs  to  the  household,  and  that  household  an  agricultural 
one.  The  father  is  the  priest,  and  his  principal  deity  is  Janus, 
the  god  of  the  doorway  ;  his  sons  are  the  subordinate  flamines  ; 
and  his  daughters  have  special  charge  of  Vesta,  who  presides 
over  the  family  hearth-fire.  Their  agricultural  activities  are 
reflected  in  the  more  orderly  rural  ceremonies  in  honour  of 
Saturn,  Ops,  and  Vesta.  Thirdly,  we  have  a  series  of  cults 
which  indicate  the  beginnings  of  a  community  with  the  king 
for  chief  priest,  supported  by  State  Vestals  and  flamines. 
The  Latin  Festival  marks  the  participation  of  Rome  in  the 
Latin  League,  whose  presiding  deity  was  Jupiter.  In  these 
three  stages  it  is  mainly  an  affair  of  formless  powers  or 
"numina,"  deities  very  scantily  realised,  with  little  or  no 
personality,  scarcely  to  be  termed  anthropomorphic  at  all. 
Instead  of  temples  there  was  nothing  but  altars,  chapels, 

If  we  view  these  changes  in  the  light  of  ethnology  we 
shall  probably  agree  that  the  first  of  them  is  the  common 
ground  of  prehistoric  Mediterranean  worship.  It  is  what 
we  find  in  Crete  at  the  earliest  period.  But  we  have  come 
to  regard  the  strict  monogamous  patriarchal  family  as 
especially  the  contribution  of  the  north  to  the  civilisation  of 
Europe.  Unfortunately  those  deities  who  are  most  certainly 
plebeian,  such  as  Ceres,  Flora,  and  Diana,  do  not  seem  to 
belong  to  the  earlier  strata  of  religion. 

However  that  may  be,  it  seems  that  we  can  trace  in  the 
next  succeeding  stage  a  period  of  public  worship  connected 
with  clearly  anthropomorphic  deities  who  have  temples, 


priests,  and  probably  images  of  their  own.  Towards  the  end 
of  the  monarchic  period  we  find  those  distinctly  Etruscan 
characteristics  of  which  I  have  already  spoken.  Jupiter,  Juno, 
and  Minerva  are  an  Etruscan  trinity.  -Now  begins  the  pre- 
eminence of  greater  gods  more  or  less  personified  and  closely 
resembling  those  of  the  Greeks — such  as  Mercury,  Ceres, 
and  Diana.  It  is  now  that  the  important  priestly  colleges, 
pontifices,  and  augurs  are  founded,  largely  replacing,  as  being 
more  important  politically,  the  old  agricultural  brotherhood  of 
the  Fratres  Arvales  and  the  martial  fraternity  of  the  Salii. 

Thus  in  religion  as  in  art  the  Romans  were  prepared  by 
their  Etruscan  connections  for  their  subsequent  capture  by 
Greek  civilisation.  It  was  inevitable  that  a  Greek  should 
recognise  Diana  as  Artemis,  Minerva  as  Pallas,  Mercury  as 
Hermes,  and  Juno  as  Hera.  It  was  equally  inevitable  that 
the  Romans  should  be  willing  to  clothe  these  bare  and  chilly 
abstractions  with  the  charming  fabric  of  Greek  mythology. 
That  process,  and  the  simultaneous  reception  at  Rome  of 
Oriental  cults,  form  still  later  stages  in  the  progress  of  that 
strange  medley  which  passed  in  the  Rome  of  literature  for 

There  is  little  to  elevate  or  inspire  in  Roman  religion.  The 
only  virtue  belonging  to  it  was  reverence  and  the  strict  sense 
of  duty  which  a  Roman  called  pietas,  explaining  it  as  "justice 
towards  the  gods."  "  Religion  "  meant  "  binding  obligation  " 
to  the  Romans ;  its  source  was  fear  of  the  unseen,  its  issue 
was  mainly  punctilious  formalism.  No  doubt  the  gods  would 
punish  disrespect  to  a  parent  or  rebellion  against  the  state, 
no  doubt  a  fugitive  or  a  slave  had  altars  and  sanctuaries 
where  he  might  claim  mercy ;  but  there  is  little  more  than 
that  to  connect  virtue  with  religion  at  Rome.  On  the  other 
hand,  we  are  not  to  suppose  that  when  the  lascivious  rites  of 
Isis  and  Ashtaroth  or  the  Paphian  Venus  came  to  Rome  in 
later  days  they  came  to  corrupt  a  race  of  pious  puritans. 
True  Roman  deities  like  Flora,  Fortuna  Virilis,  and  Anna 
Perenna  had  a  native  bestiality  of  their  own.  The  simple 


rustic  is  seldom  a  natural  puritan,  and  we  must  beware  of 
idealising  our  Early  Roman  as  a  Scottish  Covenanter.  There 
was  savage  cruelty  in  many  of  the  early  rites,  such  as  the  Ver 
Sacrum  when  all  the  offspring  of  men  and  cattle  within  a 
specified  period  was  devoted  to  the  gods,  or  the  Fordicidia 
when  unborn  calves  were  burnt.  Human  sacrifice  looms 
large  in  the  early  religion,  and  it  was  probably  only  a  later 
refinement  which  limited  it  to  criminals  or  volunteers. 

Mommsen  has  drawn  our  attention  to  the  business-like 
relation  between  worshipper  and  god,  for  that  is  also  typical 
of  the  old  Roman  character.  "The  gods,"  he  says,  "con- 
fronted man  just  as  a  creditor  confronted  a  debtor.  .  .  .  Man 
even  dealt  in  speculation  with  his  god  :  a  vow  was  in  reality 
as  in  name  a  formal  contract  between  the  god  and  the  man 
by  which  the  latter  promised  to  the  former  for  a  certain 
service  to  be  rendered  a  certain  equivalent  return."  Nay, 
he  might  venture  to  defraud  his  god.  "  They  presented  to 
the  lord  of  the  sky  heads  of  onions  or  poppies,  that  he  might 
launch  his  lightnings  at  these  rather  than  at  the  heads  of 
,-nen.  In  payment  of  the  offering  annually  demanded  by 
father  Tiber,  thirty  puppets  plaited  of  rushes  were  annually 
thrown  into  the  stream."  It  may  be  true,  as  Mr.  Warde 
Fowler  argues,  that  the  bargain  sometimes  took  the  form  of  a 
lively  sense  of  favours  to  come,  but  a  votum  was  essentially 
a  business  transaction. 

The  deity  was  very  dimly  visualised  :  the  cult  was  every- 
thing, the  god  nothing.  The  true  Latin  god  does  not  marry 
or  beget  children — did  not,  at  least,  till  the  Greek  theologians 
came  over  and  married  them  all  suitably  and  provided  them 
with  families.  Before  history  began  the  Romans  had  for- 
gotten the  little  they  had  ever  known  about  their  most  ancient 
deities.  The  rite,  perhaps  the  altar,  was  preserved,  but  no 
one  remembered  the  object  of  it.  This  is  a  typical  Roman 
prayer  as  we  have  it  in  old  Cato  :  "  This  is  the  proper  Roman 
way  to  cut  down  a  grove.  Sacrifice  with  a  pig  for  a  peace- 
offering.  This  is  the  verbal  formula :  Whether  thou  art  a 





god  or  a  goddess  to  whom  that  grove  is  sacred,  may  it  be 
justice  in  thine  eyes  to  sacrifice  a  pig  for  a  peace-offering  in 
order  that  the  sanctity  may  be  restrained.  For  this  cause, 
whether  I  perform  the  sacrifice  or  any  one  else  at  my  orders, 
may  it  be  rightly  done.  For  that  cause  in  sacrificing  this  pig 
for  a  peace-offering  I  pray  thee  honest  prayers  that  thou  mayest 
be  kind  and  propitious  to  me  and  my  house  and  my  slaves  and 
my  children.  For  these  causes  be  thou  blessed  with  the 
sacrifice  of  this  pig  for  a  peace-offering."  To  misplace  a 
word  in  this  formula  would  have  been  fatal.  The  vagueness 
of  the  address  is  typical :  the  wood  is  sacred,  no  doubt,  to 
some  invisible  numen;  the  woodman  must  guard  himself 
against  addressing  the  wrong  power.  Much  of  the  Roman 
worship  is  thus  offered  "to  the  Unknown  God." 


It  was  this  quality  of  precision  and  formalism  which  madex 
Rome  the  lawgiver  of  Europe.  In  the  battle  between  law 
and  sentiment  the  Roman  sword  has  been  thrown  with 
decisive  effect  into  the  scale  of  law.  All  Roman  law  was 
originally  a  series  of  formulae,  and  like  all  ancient  law  a  part 
of  religion.  First  the  king  and  then  the  priests  were  the 
only  people  who  knew  these  formulae.  Thus  the  king  \vas, 
the  sole  judge  both  in  private  and  public  right ;  he  might 
summon  a  council  of  advisers  or  he  might  delegate  his  powers 
to  an  inferior  officer,  such  as  the  praetor  or  the  prefect  of  the 
city,  or  the  trackers  of  murder.  Both  these  rights,  that  of 
choosing  a  consilium  and  of  delegating  authority,  with,  how- 
ever, a  right  of  appeal  from  the  lower  to  the  higher  functionary, 
remained  inherent  in  the  Roman  magistracy.  In  all  cases, 
private  or  public,  the  king  or  the  magistrate  who  replaced 
him  had  to  pronounce  the/z«  first  :  that  is,  to  state  the  proper 
formula  for  the  case  in  question  ;  then  he  would  send  the 
case  for  trial  of  fact,  or  judicium,  before  judge  or  jury.  The 
formula  would  run  "  if  it  appears  that  A.  B.  has  been  guilty  of 
condemn  him  to ;  if  not,  acquit  him."  Jus,  human 

right,  was  inseparably  connected  with  fas,  divine  right :  no 
layman  could  properly  interpret  either.  For  a  long  time  it 
was  necessary  for  one  of  the  priests  to  be  present  in  court  to 
see  that  the  proper  formularies  of  action  were  observed  with 
strict  verbal  accuracy.  This  was,  of  course,  an  enormously 
powerful  weapon  in  the  hands  of  the  patricians. 

Then  in  the  course  of  the  struggle  between  the  orders 
came  the  usual  demand  for  written  laws.  The  famous  story 
of  the  Decemviri  and  their  commission  to  Athens  in  451  B.C. 
is  unfortunately  very  dubious  history.  It  is  full  of  romantic 
elements,  it  is  part  of  that  systematic  depreciation  of  the 
Claudii  in  Roman  history  which  Mommsen  has  traced  to  its 
probable  source,  it  has  elements  which  look  as  if  they  were 
borrowed  from  the  story  of  the  thirty  tyrants  at  Athens,  and 
there  is  no  confirmation  from  the  Athenian  side.  Professor 
Pais  believes  that  the  fifth  century  is  much  too  early  for  such 
a  code.  There  are,  it  is  true,  in  the  fragments  of  the  Twelve 
Tables  which  have  come  down  to  us,  some  enactments  closely 
resembling  those  of  the  Greek  codes — regulations,  for  example, 
limiting  the  expense  of  funerals — but  we  find  such  laws  in 
other  codes  than  that  of  Solon.  One  would  like  to  have 
fuller  details  about  that  later  Appius  Claudius,  the  famous 
censor  of  312  B.C.  It  is  said  that  he  desired  to  reduce  the 
now  complicated  bulk  of  legal  formulae  to  writing  simply  for 
the  benefit  of  the  priests,  but  that  a  low-born  scribe,  one 
Flavius,  whom  he  employed  for  the  purpose  as  his  clerk, 
fraudulently  revealed  these  judicial  secrets  to  the  public.  The 
whole  tendency  of  the  Claudian  falsifications  is  to  make  out 
that  the  Claudii  were  tyrannical  and  anti-democratic.  It 
certainly  looks  as  if  the  dishonesty  of  the  freedman  had  been 
put  into  the  story  for  the  purpose  of  robbing  the  famous 
censor  of  his  credit  for  helping  the  people  to  a  knowledge 
of  law. 

The  whole  fabric  of  Roman  law  was  supposed  to  rest  upon 
the  foundation  of  the  Twelve  Tables.  Only  fragments  of 
them  have  come  down  to  us.  They  are  undoubtedly  very 

ancient  and  primitive,  more  so,  it  would  seem,  than  the 
Athenian  law  of  451  B.C.  Fines  are  to  be  paid  in  metal  by 
weight.  A  creditor  has  the  right  to  carve  up  the  body  of  his 
debtor.  Plebeian  may  not  intermarry  with  patrician.  But 
they  also  carried  something  of  a  charter  of  liberties  for  the 
citizens  in  that  capital  punishment  could  not  be  inflicted 
without  right  of  appeal  to  the  assembly,  and  no  law  could 
be  proposed  against  an  individual.  The  language  of  this 
famous  code  is  of  a  rugged  simplicity  and  directness  that 
is  truly  Roman.  On  the  whole  Roman  law  is  merciful,  con- 
sidering its  strict  character  :  though  much  of  Roman  pleading, 
as  we  have  it  in  the  mouth  of  Cicero,  is  full  of  appeals  to 
sentiment,  Roman  law  itself  allows  no  appeal  to  anything  so 
vague  as  abstract  justice.  The  written  letter  stands,  and 
there  can  be  no  pleading  without  a  legal  formula. 

The  character  of  the  ancient  Roman  is  best  described  by 
his  favourite  virtue  of  gravitas.  In  that  word  is  implied 
serious  purpose,  dignified-  reserve,  fidelity  to  one's  promise, 
and  a  sense  of  duty.  Levity  is  its  opposite,  and  among  the 
things  repugnant  to  true  Roman  gravity  were  art,  music,  and 
literature.  It  is  on  the  battlefield,  in  the  senate-house,  and 
the  law-courts  that  the  old  Roman  is  most  truly  at  home. 




qua  neque  Dardaniis  campis  potuere  perire 

nee  quom  capta  capi,  nee  quom  combusta  cremari, 

augusto  augurio  postquam  incluta  condita  Roma  est. 


HE  great  Samnite  wars,  which  had 
lasted  on  and  off  from  343  to  290 
B.C.,  had  been  the  school  of  Roman 
valour.  In  her  citizen  legions 
Rome  had  evolved  a  fighting 
machine  unequalled,  probably,  until 
the  Musketeers  of  Louis  XIV. 
and  Marlborough.  Also  she  was 
learning  politics  and  the  art 
of  government.  She  was  now 
mistress  over  the  greater  part  of 
Italy  ;  all,  in  fact,  except  the  Gallic  plain  in  the  north  and 
the  Greek  cities  of  the  south.  The  Pyrrhic  war  which  followed 
after  a  short  breathing-space  forms  the  transition  between 
domestic  expansion  and  foreign  conquest.  Our  business  here 
is  not  with  wars  and  battles  for  their  own  sake,  but  it  will  be 
important  to  observe  in  what  manner  Rome  was  launched  on 
her  career  of  empire-making.  Seeley  has  shown  how  the 
British  Empire  grew  up  in  a  haphazard  manner,  without  any 
wise  policy  to  direct  its  growth,  with  continual  neglect  of 
opportunities,  and  often  in  contemptuous  ignorance  of  the 
work  that  private  citizens  were  undertaking  for  its  honour 
and  advancement.  We  shall  see  that  it  was  very  much  the 


same  with  the  Roman  Empire.  One  responsibility  leads  to 
another,  one  conquest  leads  to  many  entanglements :  if  the 
coast  is  to  be  held  the  hinterland  must  be  conquered.  Thus 
power  follows  capacity,  and  the  doctrine  which  seems  so 
unjust,  "  To  him  that  hath  shall  be  given,  from  him  that  hath 
not  shall  be  taken  away  even  that  which  he  seemeth  to  have," 
is  fulfilled  in  all  the  dealings  between  Providence  and  imperial 
peoples.  By  coming  into  contact  with  the  Greeks  of  the 
south  Rome  was  brought  definitely  to  deal  with  a  superior 
but  declining  civilisation.  The  career  of  Agathocles,  the 
brigand  tyrant  of  Sicily,  had  lately  shown  how  easy  a  thing  it 
was  to  make  empires  among  the  opulent  and  luxurious  cities 
of  the  Calabrian  and  Bruttian  shores. 

One  summer's  day  in  282  B.C.  the  people  of  Tarentum 
were  seated  in  their  open-air  theatre,  watching  the  per- 
formance of  a  tragedy.  They  looked  out  above  the  stage 
over  the  blue  waters  of  the  Gulf  of  Calabria,  and  there  they 
saw  a  small  detachment  of  the  Roman  fleet  sailing  into  their 
harbour.  The  ships  were  on  a  voyage  entirely  peaceful,  but 
there  was  an  old  treaty  forbidding  the  Romans  to  pass  the 
Lacinian  Promontory,  and  these  barbarians  had  lately  been 
interfering  in  the  affairs  of  their  Greek  neighbours,  always  in 
favour  of  oligarchy  against  democracy.  The  mob  was  seized 
with  a  sudden  access  of  fury ;  they  rushed  down  to  the 
harbour,  butchered  or  enslaved  the  sailors,  and  put  the 
admiral  to  death.  The  Roman  Senate  met  this  atrocious 
insult  with  calm,  even  with  generosity.  But  the  Tarentine 
mob  would  have  no  peace.  Looking  abroad  for  a  champion 
they  invited  the  Prince  of  Epirus  to  their  aid.  Pyrrhus  was  j 
a  young  man  of  charm,  ability,  and  ambition  almost  equal  to  \ 
that  of  Alexander  the  Great,  whose  career  he  longed  to  l 
emulate  in  the  West.  He  was  called  the  first  general  of  his 
day,  and  he  brought  with  him  20,000  infantrymen  of  the 
phalanx,  2000  archers,  500  slingers,  and  3000  cavalry.  More- 
over he  had  twenty  Indian  war  elephants.  The  boastful 
Greeks  had  offered  to  provide  350,000  infantry,  but  when  it 



came  to  the  point  they  would  do  nothing  but  hire  a  few 
mercenaries.  However,  Pyrrhus  was  victorious  in  the  first 
battle  near  Heraclea.  The  victory  was  won,  it  is  said,  by  the 
final  charge  of  the  elephants.  The  simple  Romans  had  never 
seen  an  elephant  before;  they  called  them  "snake-hands" 
and  "  Lucanian  cows,"  and  their  horses  were  even  more 
alarmed  than  they.  But  the  next  time  the  Romans  had  to 
meet  elephants  they  provided  themselves  first  with  wonderful 
machines,  in  which  chariots  were  mysteriously  blended  with 
chafing-dishes,  and  then  when  these  failed,  with  fiery  darts, 
which  converted  this  heavy  cavalry  into  engines  of  destruction 
for  their  owners.  That  is  rather  typical  of  the  simple  Roman 
and  his  way  of  encountering  monsters. 

After  the  victory  of  Heraclea,  Pyrrhus  sent  to  Rome  with 
overtures  of  peace  a  smooth-tongued  courtier  named  Cineas, 
who  was  much  impressed  with  the  incorruptibility  of  the 
political  chiefs  and  their  wives.  It  was  he  who  described  the 
Senate  as  a  "  council  of  kings,"  so  grave  and  majestic  was 
their  bearing  and  discourse.  Nevertheless  the  Roman  Senate 
would  have  made  terms  if  it  had  not  been  for  the  great  Censor 
Appius  Claudius,  now  blind  and  infirm,  who  laid  down  for  the 
first  time  the  celebrated  doctrine  that  Rome  never  listened  to 
terms  while  there  were  foreign  troops  on  Italian  soil.  There- 
fore, although  the  Romans  had  lost  15,000  men,  fresh 
conscripts  eagerly  enrolled  themselves  to  make  a  new  army. 

Meanwhile  Pyrrhus,  after  another  incomplete  "Pyrrhic" 
victory,  was  proceeding  unchecked  over  the  island  of  Sicily. 
There  he  drove  the  Carthaginians  from  point  to  point  until 
they  concentrated  in  their  great  stronghold  of  Lilybaeum  in 
the  west.  But  all  the  time  his  position  was  desperate.  The 
coalition  on  which  he  depended  was  composed  of  faithless  and 
useless  allies.  While  his  stiff  Epirot  phalanx  was  depleted  at 
every  victory,  fresh  levies  of  Roman  citizens  seemed  to  spring 
from  the  soil  to  replace  the  losses  of  every  defeat.  So  at 
length  it  came  to  the  battle  of  the  Arusine  Plain,  near 
Beneventum,  in  which  the  Romans  were  completely  victorious. 


Thus  Pyrrhus  leaves  to  history  the  reputation  not  of  a  con- 
queror but  of  an  adventurer.  The  Romans  had  thus  faced 
and  overthrown  the  Greek  phalanx  at  its  best,  and  were  now 
masters  of  Italy  from  Genoa  to  Reggio,  with  Sicily  obviously 
inviting  their  next  advance.  That  Rome  was  now  formally 
accepted  among  the  great  powers  of  the  Mediterranean  world 
is  shown  by  an  embassy  offering  alliance  with  Ptolemy  of 

She  had  a  breathing-space  of  eleven  years  before  the  first 
of  her  two  great  conflicts  with  the  Carthaginians.  Carthage, 
a  colony  of  the  Phoenicians  of  Tyre,  had  grown  rich  and  pro- 
sperous on  the  fertile  soil  of  the  modern  Tunis.  She  was  an 
aristocracy  wholly  devoted  to  trade,  and  living  uncomfortably 
amid  a  surrounding  population  of  dangerous  native  subjects. 
War  was  not  her  main  business,  but  when  she  sought  fresh 
markets  she  was  apt  to  fight  with  horrible  ferocity,  sacrificing 
her  prisoners  in  hundreds  to  hideous  gods  when  she  was 
victorious,  and  impaling  her  generals  when  she  was  not.  As 
a  military  power  she  varied  greatly :  the  comparatively  puny 
Greek  states  of  Sicily  had  been  maintaining  a  fairly  equal 
struggle  against  her  for  centuries.  But  she  used  the  British 
system  of  sepoy  troops,  and  thus  everything  depended  on  the 
general.  Had  it  not  been  for  the  inexperience  of  the  Romans 
at  sea  and  the  extraordinary  genius  of  Hannibal,  Carthage 
would  never  ri^ve  come  as  near  victory  as  she  did.  We 
have  no  history  of  the  struggle  from  the  Punic  side,  and 
Carthage  herself  must  remain  somewhat  of  a  mystery  even 
when  illuminated  by  the  brilliant  imagination  of  the  author  of 

In  entering  upon  this  war,  which  Rome  did  ostensibly  in 
response  to  an  appeal  from  a  parcel  of  ruffianly  outlaws  for 
whom  she  had  no  sympathy  whatever,  we  can  for  once  dis- 
cover no  motive  but  desire  of  conquest.  Messina,  the  home  of 
the  said  ruffians,  was  for  her  merely  the  t£te  du  pont  which 
led  from  Bruttium  into  Sicily.  The  conquest  of  that  rich  Greek 
island  was  plainly  the  objective,  but  she  plunged  into  war 



without  foreseeing  the  immensity  of  her  undertaking.  The 
chief  interest  of  the  First  Punic  War,  which  lasted  from  264 
to  241,  lies  in  the  creation  of  a  Roman  navy  which  occurred 
in  the  course  of  it.  Although  we  may  agree  with  Mommsen 
that  "it  is  only  a  childish  view  to  believe  that  the  Romans 
then  for  the  first  time  dipped  their  oars  in  water,"  yet  tradi- 
tion says  that  the  Romans  constructed  a  fleet  in  a  great 
hurry,  taking  for  model  a  stranded  Carthaginian  galley.  It 
was  at  any  rate  her  first  war-fleet  worth  mentioning.  The 
tradition  is  proved  by  the  lack  of  seamanship  displayed  by  the 
Romans,  for  every  storm  cost  her  enormous  losses  by  ship- 
wreck. The  device  by  which  she  overcame  the  Punic  ships 
— a  sort  of  grappling  gangway  on  pulleys  affixed  to  her 
masts,  so  that  her  soldiers  could  fight  the  enemy  as  if  on 
shore — was  a  successful  but  essentially  a  landlubberly  inven- 
tion, and  no  doubt  accounts  for  many  of  her  losses  by  ship- 
wreck. Her  annual  consuls,  transformed  for  the  occasion 
into  annual  admirals,  had  not  even  as  much  opportunity  as 
Colonel  Blake  to  learn  their  trade.  And,  though  Rome 
launched  fleet  after  fleet  until  at  length  she  became  mistress 
of  the  seas,  she  never  treated  her  navy  with  respect.  The 
ships  were  rowed  by  slaves  and  manned  chiefly  by  subject 
allies,  but  the  real  business  of  fighting  was  done  by  the  120 
legionaries  on  each  vessel,  who  came  into  action  when  the 
enemy  was  grappled  and  the  gangway  fast  in  her  deck.  So 
the  war  dragged  on  for  nearly  a  generation  until  at  length 
the  Carthaginians  made  peace,  and  Rome  gained  the  coveted 
island.  Britain  is  not  the  only  empire  in  history  which  wins 
victories  by  "muddling  through." 

The  peace  was  clearly  nothing  more  than  a  respite  :  the 
command  of  the  Western  Mediterranean  was  not  yet  settled. 
Rome  spent  the  interval  in  making  fresh  conquests.  First 
she  seized  the  opportunity,  while  Carthage  was  involved 
with  her  native  rebels,  to  annex  the  islands  of  Sardinia  and 
Corsica,  alleging  with  more  ingenuity  than  geographical 
exactitude  that  these  were  some  of  the  islands  between  Sicily 


and  Africa  which  Carthage  had  agreed  to  surrender.  Here 
we  behold  the  simple  Roman  as  a  diplomat.  Then  she 
was  compelled  to  intervene  in  Illyria  in  order  to  clear 
the  Adriatic  of  piracy,  and  so  acquired  territory  across  the 
water.  Soon  afterwards  the  Gauls  of  the  northern  plain 
began  under  pressure  from  their  kinsmen  across  the  Alps  to 
threaten  invasion  ;  and  Rome,  after  failing  to  gain  the  favour 
of  heaven  by  the  pious  expedient  of  burying  a  male  and 
female  Gaul  alive  in  her  Forum,  marched  out  to  meet  them, 
slaughtered  them  in  thousands,  and  thus  rounded  off  her 
control  over  the  peninsula.  Much  of  this  looks  like  conscious 

In   the  Second  Punic  War,  which   lasted  from    218   to 
the  end  of  the  century,  Rome  was  not  the  aggressor.     At 
Carthage   by  this    time  the  native  rebellion  had    been   put 
down  with  a  heavy  hand.    It  seems  that  Carthage  had  its  party 
system,  the  democracy,  as  usual  in  ancient  cities,  being  for 
war,  and  the  aristocracy  of  rich  merchants  for  peace.     The 
democracy  was  led  by  the  celebrated  Barca  family,  who  had 
long    supplied   the    state   with   famous    generals    and    now 
occupied  a  position  of  unrivalled  eminence.     Constitutional!) 
a  Carthaginian  could  rise  no  further  than  to  be  one  of  the 
two  shophets  who  corresponded  to  the  Roman  consuls,  but 
actually  the  Barcas  were   more  like   a   family  of  dictators. 
From  the  first  Hamilcar  Barca  foresaw  that  Rome  was  still 
the  enemy,  and  he  is  said  to  have  made  his  little  son  Hannibal 
swear  an  oath  at  the  altar  that  he  would  prosecute  that  enmity 
to  the  death.     But  first  it  was  necessary  to  acquire  resources 
and  an  army  for  the  purpose.     This  he  resolved  to  do,  as 
Julius  Ccesar  did  after  him,  by  foreign  conquest.     Without 
orders  from  home  he  led  his  army  into  Spain,  and  there  began 
to  build  up  a  province  and  a  native  army  under  his  absolute 
control.     Though  Cadiz  was  already  a  Carthaginian  market 
and  there  was  already  a  Greek  colony  at  Saguntum,  and  the 
ships  of  Tarshish  were  known  even  to  King  Solomon,  this 
is  the  first  real  appearance  of  Spain  in  history.     There  was 

D  49 


metal  to  be  had  from  the  mines,  gold,  copper,  and  silver,  and 
there  were  hardy  warriors  in  the  hills  who  only  needed  train- 
ing to  become  excellent  soldiers.  So  Carthage  began  to 
acquire  a  western  substitute  for  her  lost  province  of  Sicily. 
Hamilcar  died  ;  his  son-in-law,  Hasdrubal,  was  assassinated  ; 
and  then  the  army  chose  for  its  leader  Hamilcar's  son 
Hannibal,  then  a  young  man  of  twenty-nine. 

This  man,  though  his  history  was  written  exclusively  by 
his  enemies,  stands  out  as  one  of  the  greatest  leaders  in 
history.  In  strategy  he  was  supreme ;  in  statesmanship  he 
had  the  gift  which  Maryborough  shared  of  being  able  by  his 
personal  influence  to  hold  unwilling  allies  together  even  in 
adverse  circumstances.  He  was  a  cultivated  man  who  spoke 
and  wrote  Greek  and  Latin.  He  is  charged  by  the  jealousy 
of  the  Romans  with  cruelty  and  perfidy,  but  in  fact  history 
has  nothing  to  substantiate  these  charges  :  on  the  contrary 
his  actions  are  often  magnanimous  and  honourable.  His 
brilliance  as  a  general  largelysprang  from  his  power  of  entering 
into  the  mind  of  his  enemy.  This  was  the  man  who  inherited 
his  father's  deep-laid  plans  of  vengeance,  and  set  out,  his  heart 
burning  with  hatred  of  Rome,  to  fulfil  them. 

We  cannot  dwell  upon  his   wonderful   march  over   the 
Alps  and  his  brilliant  series  of  victories  on  the  soil  of  Italy. 
Hannibal's   whole  plan  of  campaign  was,  briefly,  to  invade 
Italy  by  land  with  a  compact  striking  force  and  raise  the 
unwilling  subjects  of  Rome  against  her,  while  the  main  force 
of  Carthage  attacked  Sicily  and  Italy  by  sea.     But  it  contained 
three  serious  miscalculations  which  brought  it  eventually  to 
ruin.     First,  the  southern  Gauls  on  whom  Hannibal  relied  for 
his  communications  and  his  base  proved  fickle  and  untrust- 
worthy allies  ;  secondly,  he  found  that  Rome's  mild  imperial 
system  had  not  produced  unwilling  subjects  such  as  Carthage 
possessed  in  Africa  ;  and  thirdly,  he  hoped  for  support  from 
Philip  of  Macedon,  but  here  he  was  foiled  by  Roman  diplo- 
macy.    Moreover,  while  the  Romans  showed  a  tenacity  and 
power  of  recuperation  unexampled  in  history,  Carthage  her- 










self,  now  in  the  hands  of  the  commercial  oligarchs,  gave  him 
grudging  and  uncertain  support.  The  firmness  and  courage 
of  the  Roman  senate  and  people  were  amazing.  Beaten  again 
and  again  in  the  field  at  the  Ticino,  the  Trebia,  Lake 
Trasimene,  and  Cannae,  Rome  never  lost  her  pride.  She 
refused  offers  of  help  from  King  Hiero  of  Syracuse,  she  could 
find  time  to  order  the  Illyrian  chiefs  to  pay  their  tribute,  she 
actually  summoned  Philip  of  Macedon  to  surrender  her 
fugitive  rebel  Demetrius.  She  kept  an  army  in  Spain ;  a 
fleet  still  cruised  in  Greek  waters ;  she  had  an  army  in  Sicily, 
while  four  legions  besieged  Capua ;  she  had  troops  in 
Sardinia,  three  legions  in  North  Italy,  two  legions  as  a 
garrison  in  the  capital — no  fewer  than  200,000  citizens  under 
arms.  When  the  foolish  demagogue  Varro  returned  in  defeat 
and  disgrace  from  the  awful  disaster  at  Cannae,  the  senate 
thanked  him  for  not  having  committed  suicide — "  for  not 
having  despaired  of  the  salvation  of  his  country." 

No  doubt  Rome  owed  something,  but  not  as  much  as  her 
poets  and  orators  pretended,  to  the  cautious  tactics  of  Quintus 
Fabius.  At  any  rate,  he  gave  her  time  to  grow  used  to  the 
presence  of  the  invader  and  to  recover  from  the  shock  of  the 
three  disasters  with  which  the  war  opened.  The  Romans 
had  never  before  been  called  upon  to  face  a  consummate 
strategist.  Pyrrhus  had  been,  within  the  limitations  of  Greek 
warfare,  a  clever  tactician  ;  he  had  even  shown  the  originality 
to  copy  the  Roman  manipular  system  in  his  later  battles. 
But  Hannibal  was  more  than  a  strategist ;  he  was  a  psycholo- 
gist who  knew  when  the  opposing  general  was  rash  and  when 
he  was  wary,  who  had  spies  everywhere  and  could  supplement 
their  intelligence  by  disguising  himself  to  do  his  own  scout- 
ing. Scouting  was  an  art  that  the  Romans  had  yet  to  learn 
by  bitter  experience.  At  the  Trasimene  Lake*  they  blundered 
straight  into  the  most  obvious  of  natural  death-traps.  But  the 
Romans  were  always  good  learners,  and,  as  usually  happens, 
the  amateur  patriot  army  steadily  improved  during  the  war 

*  Plate  9. 



while  the  hired  professionals  steadily  deteriorated.  The 
actual  strategy  by  which  Hannibal  won  most  of  his  battles 
was  simple  enough.  It  was  the  policy  of  a  long  weak  centre 
into  which  the  Roman  legions  buried  themselves  deep  while 
the  two  strong  wings  of  the  enemy  closed  round  on  their 
flanks  and  rear.  In  his  Numidian  horsemen  Hannibal  had  the 
finest  light  cavalry  yet  known  to  European  warfare. 

For  a  time  all  went  brilliantly  for  the  invader.  Italians, 
Greeks,  and  Gauls  joined  his  victorious  standard.  Rome  was 
on  the  brink  of  despair.  The  very  gods  began  to  tremble  ; 
their  statues  sweated  blood,  two-headed  lambs  were  born  with 
alarming  frequency,  and  cows  in  Apulia  uttered  prophetic 
warnings  with  human  voices ;  the  most  horrible  of  omens 
portended  destruction.  But  the  city  and  the  senate  never 
lost  heart  and  gradually  as  the  years  passed  by  Hannibal 
began  to  see  that  his  cause  was  lost.  The  Latin  allies  stood 
firm  for  Rome.  The  Romans  were  able  to  hold  Sicily  and 
even  despatch  a  brilliant  and  lucky  young  general  named 
Scipio  to  reconquer  Spain.  Thus  the  longed-for  reinforcements 
were  cut  off.  The  stupid  aristocracy  of  Carthage  were  jealous 
of  their  great  soldier,  and  when  at  last  a  reinforcing  Punic 
army  from  Spain  managed  to  slip  through  into  Italy,  Nero 
caught  it  at  the  River  Metaurus  just  before  the  junction  was 
effected.  The  first  news  of  that  battle  came  to  Hannibal  when 
the  Romans  tossed  over  the  rampart  into  his  camp  the  bleed- 
ing head  of  the  defeated  general,  his  own  brother  Hasdrubal. 
Horace  has  sung  of  this  tragic  episode  in  his  noblest  manner  : 

quid  debeas,  o  Roma,  Neronibus 
testis  Metaurum  flumen  et  Hasdrubal 

devictus  et  pulcer  fugatis 

ille  dies  Latio  tenebris. 

•  •  •  •  • 

dixitque  tandem  perfidus   Hannibal : 

"  cerui,  luporum  prseda  rapacium, 
sectamur  ultro  quos  opimus 
fallere  et  effugere  est  triumphus 

•  »  *  •  • 



"  Carthagini  iam  non  ego  nuntios 

mittam  superbos.     occidit,  occidit 
spes  omnis  et  fortuna  nostri 
nominis  Hasdrubale  interempto."* 

This  was  in  207  :  in  206  Scipio  won  a  decisive  victory  in 
Spain  and  in  205  made  a  counter-invasion  upon  the  coast 
of  Carthage.  It  was  only  "a  forlorn  hope  of  volunteers  and 
disrated  companies,"  but  it  caused  the  recall  of  Hannibal  and 
gained  valuable  African  allies  for  Rome.  The  last  scene  of 
the  duel  was  the  victory  of  Zama  in  202  in  which  Scipio  won 
his  title  of  Africanus  and  became  the  hero  and  saviour  of 
Rome.t  Carthage  ceded  Spain  and  the  Spanish  islands,  lost 
her  whole  war-fleet,  came  under  Roman  suzerainty  and 
agreed  to  pay  an  enormous  indemnity.  But  her  end  was 
not  yet.  For  another  fifty  years  she  was  permitted  to  exist 
on  sufferance  in  humiliation  and  agony. 

Now,  frightful  as  had  been  the  losses  of  Rome  in  this 
seventeen-years'  conflict,  and  great  as  was  her  exhaustion,  she 
proceeded  in  the  very  year  following  the  peace  with  Carthage 
to  enter  upon  a  fresh  series  of  campaigns.  The  Gauls  of  the 
north  made  a  desperate  revolt,  sacked  Piacenza  and  invested 
Cremona,  but  the  Romans  quickly  brought  them  to  reason. 
The  Gauls  could  not,  of  course,  receive  any  of  the  rights  of 
citizenship  as  yet,  but  they  received  back  their  independence, 
and  were  left  free  of  tribute  to  act  as  a  bulwark  against  their 
northern  cousins.  There  was  incessant  fighting  in  Spain  also. 
In  Sardinia  there  were  perpetual  slave-drives,  until  the 
market  was  glutted  with  slaves,  and  the  phrase  was  begotten 
"as  cheap  as  a  Sardinian."  How  could  the  senate  at  such 

*  What  thou  owest  to  the  stock  of  Nero,  O  Rome,  let  Metaurus'  flood  bear 
witness,  and  the  defeated  Hasdrubal,  and  that  fair  dawn  that  drove  the  dark- 
ness from  Latium.  .  .  .  And  at  length  spake  treacherous  Hannibal :  "  We  are 
but  deer,  the  prey  of  ravening  wolves,  but  lo  1  we  are  pursuing  those  whom 
to  escape  is  a  rare  triumph.  ...  No  proud  ambassadors  now  shall  I  send  to 
Carthage  :  perished,  perished  is  all  our  hope  and  all  the  fortune  of  our  race,  for 
Hasdrubal  is  dead."  (Odes,  IV.  iv.  37-40,  49-52,  69-73). 

t  Plate  ji, 


a  moment  declare  a  fresh  war  with  the  greatest  of  European 
powers  ?  Was  it  under  pressure  of  that  greedy  commercial 
party  at  Rome  of  which  we  are  beginning  to  hear  so  much  ? 
The  suggestion  is  absurd.  There  were  hard  knocks  and  little 
money  to  be  got  from  Macedon  ;  and  it  is  difficult  to  conceive 
how  any  powerful  commercial  interests  could  have  arisen  at 
Rome  during  the  seventeen  years  of  the  Hannibalic  War.  If 
ever  there  was  a  nation  whose  early  history  declined  the 
economic  interpretation  it  was  the  Romans.  Even  when  the 
Romans  had  conquered  Macedon  they  shut  down  the  famous 
gold  mines  because  they  did  not  know  how  to  manage  them ! 
Nor,  I  think,  was  it  any  large-minded  Welt-politik  which  led 
Rome  into  the  Second  Macedonian  War.  Doubtless  Philip 
and  the  Greeks  were  dangerous  and  uncomfortable  neigh- 
bours, and  no  doubt  it  was  true  that  Philip  of  Macedon  and 
Antiochus  of  Syria  had  formed  a  compact  to  divide  up  the 
realms  of  the  boy-king  of  Egypt.  But  the  war  could  probably 
have  been  postponed  for  years  by  negotiation.  Philip  did  not 
want  to  fight  Rome :  he  had  not  even  ventured  to  intervene 
while  she  was  almost  prostrate  before  Hannibal.  The  fact  is 
that  the  Romans  were  by  habits  and  instinct  a  fighting  people. 
From  the  earliest  times  they  had  inherited  the  custom  of  an 
annual  summer  campaign.  Peace  did  not  present  itself  to 
them,  or  most  of  their  neighbours,  as  a  desirable  condition  to 
be  preserved  as  long  as  possible.  They  were  soldiers  and 
nought  else,  and  what  are  soldiers  for  but  for  fighting?  It  is 
only  blind  optimism  which  can  believe  that  nations  are  even 
now  actuated  habitually  in  their  international  relations  by 
foresight  and  policy.  "The  plain  truth  is,"  said  William 
James,  "that  people  want  war.  They  want  it  anyhow;  for 
itself,  and  apart  from  each  and  every  possible  consequence. 
It  is  the  final  bouquet  of  life's  fireworks."  That  is  certainly 
true  of  the  Romans :  the  Roman  state,  as  a  whole,  needed  its 
customary  annual  campaign.  It  was  the  business  of  her 
statesmen  and  diplomats  to  choose  the  enemy  and  prepare  a 
casus  belli.  To  imagine  the  states  of  200  B.C.  as  always 


calculating  their  actions  solely  on  the  basis  of  commercial 
interest  must  be  unhistorical. 

In  their  attack  on  Philip  the  Romans  were  allied  with  the 
most  respectable  elements  in  Levantine  politics :    Rhodes, 
the  commercial  republic ;    Pergamum,   the   kingdom  of  the 
cultivated  Attalus ;    Athens,   the   ancient   home  of  art  and 
learning ;    Egypt,   the   centre   of  commerce   and  literature. 
Elsewhere  *  I  have  described  how  the  simple  Romans  com- 
ported themselves  in  this  land  of  higher  civilisation.     They 
trod  almost  reverently  into  the  circle  of  Greek  culture  ;  they 
were  flattered  when  the  Athenians  initiated   them  into  the 
Eleusinian  Mysteries,  or  when  the  Achaean  League  permitted 
them  to  take  part  in  the  Isthmian  games.     And  when  they 
had  beaten   Philip — not  without  difficulty,  nor  without  indis- 
pensable aid  from  the   ^Etolian    cavalry — at    Cynocephalae, 
they  made  no  attempt  at  annexation.    Leaving  Philip  crippled, 
they  were  content.     Flamininus,  their  Philhellenic  general, 
was  proud  to  proclaim  the  liberty  of  Greece  before  he  retired. 
He  and    many  of  his   officers  carried  away  with  them  an 
ineffaceable  impression.      They  were  returning  to  barbarism 
from  a  land  rich  in  ancient  temples  of  incredible  splendour, 
crowded  with  works  of  art.     They  had  seen  the  tragedies  in 
the  theatres,  the  runners  in  the  games.     They  had  heard  the 
philosophers  disputing  in  the  colonnades,  the  orators  harangu- 
ing in  the  market-place.     A  world  glowing  with  life  undreamt- 
of, where  there  were  other  things  to  live  for  than  battle,  had 
suddenly  flashed  upon  their  eyes. 

The  next  great  war  was  against  Philip's  accomplice, 
Antiochus  of  Syria.  This  war  was  as  inevitable  as  the 
last.  Antiochus,  puffed  up  with  the  pretensions  of  an  Oriental 
King  of  Kings,  was  eager  to  match  his  strength  against  the 
parvenus  Romans.  Rome  seemed,  and  perhaps  was,  reluctant 
to  undertake  the  apparently  enormous  task  at  this  moment, 
though  Pergamum  and  Rhodes  invoked  her  assistance.  One 
strong  cause  for  war  was  that  Antiochus  had  given  a  home  to 

*  See  "  The  Glory  that  was  Greece,"  p.  261. 


Hannibal,  Rome's  hunted  but  dreaded  foe.  If  the  Great 
King  had  but  had  the  sense  to  give  Hannibal  power  over  his 
great  host  it  might  yet  have  gone  hard  with  the  Romans.  As 
it  was,  the  battle  of  Magnesia  (190)  was  one  of  those  tame 
victories  in  which  Oriental  hosts  are  butchered  by  superior 
Western  weapons  and  methods  of  fighting.  But  even  with 
the  wealth  of  Syria  spread  out  at  her  feet,  Rome  annexed 
nothing  ;  not  out  of  any  spirit  of  self-denial,  for  she  exacted 
an  indemnity  of  almost  four  million  sterling,  but  because  she 
was  not  prepared  to  undertake  the  responsibility  of  governing 
regions  so  vast  and  so  much  more  civilised  than  herself. 

Actually,  of  course,  the  effect  of  these  wars  was  to  give 
Rome  complete  command  of  the  Mediterranean  coast-lands. 
Though  she  did  not  annex,  she  accepted  suzerainty  ;  that  is, 
she  controlled,  or  attempted  to  control,  foreign  policy.  Rome 
is  the  patron  ;  Macedonia,  Syria,  Egypt,  Pergamum,  Rhodes, 
Bithynia,  Athens,  the  two  leagues  and  all  the  ancient  states 
of  Greece  are  her  clients.  The  position  of  policeman  and 
nurse  of  the  JEgean  world  had  been  thrust  upon  Rome  because 
she  was  strong  and  just.  Even  that  was  a  terrific  and  bewil- 
dering responsibility.  Every  day  fresh  embassies  came  to 
Rome  to  complain  of  neighbours  and  solicit  assistance — clever 
Greeks  who  would  talk  your  head  off  with  sophistries,  and 
rich  Asiatics  who  would  corrupt  you  with  bribes  and  blandish- 
ments. There  was  no  one  within  reach  who  would  stand  up 
and  fight  squarely.  In  the  West  there  were  Provinces,  in 
the  East  allies ;  it  was  difficult  to  know  which  gave  most 

So  we  come  to  the  next  stage,  when  the  Romans  began  to 
annex  and  subjugate.  It  was  the  only  way.  In  Macedonia, 
after  Philip  had  been  conquered  and  pardoned,  Perseus  arose 
and  rebelled.  After  Perseus  had  been  crushed  and  his  king- 
dom dismembered,  a  bastard  pretender  arose  and  headed  a 
revolt,  joined  by  the  Greeks.  Obviously  there  was  nothing 
for  it  but  to  round  off  the  business  by  sending  a  permanent 
army  under  a  permanent  general  to  Macedonia,  and  to  call  it 
56  ' 




his  "province."  Not  even  yet  did  the  Romans  dream  of 
making  cities  like  Athens  her  subjects.  These  free  cities, 
however,  needed  a  sharp  lesson  ;  and  Corinth,  as  an  almost 
impregnable  fortress  which  had  been  a  centre  of  Achaean 
mischief,  was  selected  for  destruction  and  destroyed  in 
146  B.C. 

In  the  same  year  came  the  end  of  Carthage.  During  the 
last  fifty  years  there  had  been  incessant  trouble  there.  Rome 
had  left  Carthage  prostrate  before  her  dangerous  African 
enemies,  and  refused  all  her  appeals  to  be  allowed  to  defend 
herself.  All  the  time  Carthage  was  undoubtedly  recovering 
financially  from  her  defeat,  in  spite  of  her  large  annual  tribute. 
This  sight  moved  the  fears  and  jealousy  of  the  Romans.  It 
was  not  sufficient  to  have  ordered  the  expulsion  of  Hannibal. 
The  Romans  who  had  grown  up  under  the  shadow  of  the 
great  Punic  War  had  sucked  in  hate  and  fear  of  Carthage  with 
their  mother's  milk.  Intelligent  people  like  Scipio,  who  had 
seen  Carthage  in  the  dust,  might  mock  at  their  fears.  It  was 
the  Old  Roman  party,  with  their  spokesman  Cato  and  his 
stupid  parrot-cry  of  delenda  est  Carthago,  who  constantly 
kept  their  nerves  on  edge,  until  at  last  in  sheer  panic  they 
obeyed.  The  long  feud  between  Carthage  and  the  Berber 
chief  Masinissa  came  to  a  head  in  154.  Masinissa  appealed 
to  Rome,  and  Rome  ordered  Carthage  to  dismiss  her  army 
and  burn  her  fleet.  Carthage,  now  desperate,  refused,  went 
to  war  with  Masinissa,  and  was  beaten.  Then  Rome  declared 
war  upon  her — the  Third  Punic  War.  Two  consuls  landed 
with  a  large  army  and  Carthage  offered  submission.  The 
consuls  demanded  complete  disarmament.  Carthage  sub- 
mitted. Then  the  consuls  demanded  that  the  existing  city 
should  be  destroyed  and  the  inhabitants  settled  ten  miles 
inland.  That  meant  not  only  the  destruction  of  their  homes 
and  hearths  and  temples,  but  the  end  of  the  commerce  for 
which  they  lived.  This  preposterous  demand  shows  that 
Cato's  policy  had  triumphed.  Carthage  could  not  submit  to 
this,  and  there  followed  one  of  those  frightful  sieges  in  which 


the  Semitic  peoples  show  their  amazing  tenacity.  Three 
years  it  lasted,  by  favour  of  the  gross  incompetence  of  the 
Roman  generals  ;  until  at  last  a  Scipio  came  to  turn  the  tide 
once  more.  Carthage  was  destroyed  utterly  with  fire  and 
sword,  her  very  site  laid  bare,  and  the  soil  sown  with  salt,  in 
token  that  man  should  dwell  there  no  more. 

The  destruction  of  these  two  cities,  Corinth  and  Carthage, 
together  with  other  facts  such  as  the  unreasonable  irritation 
which  Rome  displayed  against  her  Greek  allies,  Rhodes  and 
Pergamum,  have  been  taken  by  some  modern  historians  to 
indicate,  once  more,  a  policy  of  commercial  jealousy  insti- 
gating the  destruction  of  rival  markets.  In  the  one  case, 
however,  it  has  been  proved  that  Corinth  was  no  longer  a 
great  centre  of  Greek  commerce  when  she  was  destroyed, 
and  in  the  case  of  Carthage  it  was  the  party  of  Cato,  who  was 
much  more  of  a  farmer  than  a  company-promoter,  that  urged 
destruction.  A  man  of  business  might  indeed  be  foolish 
enough  to  want  to  close  the  principal  markets  which  bought 
and  sold  with  him — there  are  such  business  men  to-day — but 
he  would  scarcely  be  so  mad  as  to  have  a  fine  commercial 
centre  with  its  docks  and  quays  utterly  destroyed  and  cursed 
for  ever.  Similarly,  when  Macedon  was  conquered  her  rich 
gold  mines  were  shut  down  by  order  of  the  senate.  The 
truth  is  that  Rome  was  tired  and  exhausted  with  her  colossal 
wars,  irritable  and  nervous  beyond  expression  with  the  gigantic 
task  of  government  which  she  had  found  thrust  upon  her. 
Surrounded  with  false  friends  and  secret  enemies,  she  was 
losing  the  noble  sang  froid  she  had  displayed  in  times  of  real 
crisis.  Corinth  was  destroyed  as  a  warning  to  the  Greeks, 
Carthage  as  an  expiation  for  the  lemures  of  the  unburied 
Roman  dead. 


In  considering  the  ancient,  imperial,  and  provincial 
systems  it  is  necessary  for  the  modern  to  divest  himself  of  all 
the  geographical  notions  which  spring  from  the  study  of  maps. 


The  ancients  probably  had  only  the  most  vague  notions  of 
territory.  Natural  frontiers  such  as  mountains,  rivers,  and 
coasts  were  of  course  familiar  to  them,  from  the  strategic  point 
of  view.  Within  those  were  cities  great  and  small,  which  in 
the  case  of  civilised  people  formed  the  units  of  life  and 
government.  In  the  case  of  barbarians  there  were  tribes  and 
nations,  seldom  sufficiently  settled  to  produce  any  notion  of 
geographical  area.  Thus  when  Rome  conquered  Sicily  she 
was  acquiring  not  so  much  one  geographical  unit,  an  island, 
as  a  collection  of  states  of  various  types  and  constitutions. 
Similarly  in  the  case  of  Spain  ;  she  said  and  thought  that  she 
acquired  Spain,  although  the  greater  part  of  the  Iberian 
peninsula  remained  unconquered  for  another  century  and 
a  half.  To  remember  the  limitations  of  ancient  geographical 
knowledge  is  essential  to  the  understanding  of  the  Roman 
provincial  system.  Provincia  means  in  the  first  instance  a 
sphere  of  official  duty  ;  a  man's  provincia  might  be  the  feeding 
of  the  sacred  geese  or  it  might  be  the  control  of  an  army. 
It  was  not  for  a  long  time  that  the  word  came  to  connote  a 
territorial  area.  When  it  did  so,  the  day  of  the  city-state 
was  at  an  end. 

The  earliest  Roman  provinces  were  Sicily,  acquired  by 
conquest  in  the  First  Punic  War,  241  B.C.,  then  Corsica  and 
Sardinia,  annexed  in  the  diplomatic  intrigues  which  followed. 
Spain,  or  rather  "the  Spams,"  Further  and  Hither,  were 
the  fruit  of  the  Second  Punic  War  (201).  After  the  Third 
Punic  War  (146)  the  territory  of  Carthage  became  a  province 
under  the  name  of  Africa.  At  the  same  time  the  Mace- 
donian Wars  gave  Rome  the  province  of  Macedonia.  To 
complete  the  list  so  far  as  the  Roman  Republic  is  concerned  : 
Attalus  III.  bequeathed  his  kingdom  to  Rome  in  133,  and 
this  became  the  province  of  Asia.  In  121  the  conquest  of 
Southern  Gaul  gave  Rome  Gallia  Narbonensis.  In  103  the 
prevalence  of  piracy  on  the  southern  coasts  of  Asia  Minor 
compelled  the  Romans  to  make  Cilicia  a  province.  In  81  a 
legislative  act  of  Sulla  brought  the  already  conquered 



Cisalpine  Gaul  into  the  same  category.  The  King  of 
Bithynia  imitated  Attalus  in  bequeathing  his  kingdom  to 
Rome.  Cyrene  also  was  bequeathed  to  Rome  and  united  in 
one  province  with  Crete  in  63.  In  64  Pompeius  the  Great 
deposed  the  King  of  Syria  and  annexed  his  kingdom. 
About  the  same  time,  on  the  death  of  Mithradates,  Pontus 
was  added  to  Bithynia  as  a  united  province.  In  51  Julius 
Caesar  completed  the  conquest  of  Gaul  and  added  it  as 
Gallia  Comata  to  the  old  province  of  Narbonensian  Gaul. 
Finally  in  31  Octavianus  added  Egypt  to  the  list. 

It  was  not  the  Roman  way  to  think  a  situation  out  with 
the  logic  and  directness  of  a  Greek  or  a  Frenchman.  More 
like  the  Englishman,  he  took  things  as  they  came  and  made 
the  best  of  them  with  as  little  derangement  as  possible  of  his 
pre-existing  system  and  preconceived  ideas.  The  Roman 
Empire  was  not  governed  on  a  system  as  it  was  not  acquired 
by  a  policy.  When  Sicily  came  into  the  Roman  hands,  it 
came  piecemeal  in  the  course  of  the  war.  Various  cities 
accepted  Roman  "alliance"  on  various  terms.  Rome  had 
never  been  able  to  grant  full  citizenship  to  Greek  states, 
because  their  inhabitants,  speaking  a  foreign  language,  could 
not  give  the  equivalent  in  military  service.  If  Sicily  had 
been  Italian  it  would  no  doubt  have  entered  the  Roman 
alliance  as  a  collection  of  municipia ;  as  it  was,  the  sixty-five 
or  so  separate  Sicilian  states  continued  to  enjoy  for  the  most 
part  their  previous  constitutions  under  various  agreements 
with  Rome.  Some  were  "free,"  some  were  "free  and  con- 
federate " ;  similarly  of  kings  who  yielded  to  Rome,  some 
were  styled  " allies,"  some  "allies  and  friends."  The  cities 
would  have  their  charters  and  the  kings  would  have  their 
personal  treaties  with  Rome  which  lapsed  with  their  death. 
But  in  a  region  conquered  in  war  most  of  the  tribes  or  states 
were  simply  "  stipendiary,"  that  is,  tribute-paying.  The 
stipendium  paid  was  originally,  and  in  theory,  an  indemnity 
or  a  contribution  for  the  maintenance  of  a  military  force  by 
people  who  were  unqualified  to  give  personal  service.  It  was 


generally  settled  by  a  commission  of  ten  members  of  the 
senate,  who  went  out  to  organise  a  newly  acquired  territory. 
Even  these  tributary  states  had  their  charters  from  Rome. 
The  stipendium  was  by  no  means  extortionate.  In  Mace- 
donia, for  example,  the  people  only  paid  to  Rome  half  as 
much  as  they  had  previously  paid  to  their  kings.  In  Sicily 
and  Sardinia  the  tillers  of  the  soil  paid  a  tithe,  generally  in 
kind  (that  is,  in  corn),  to  the  Roman  treasury,  and  the  town- 
dwellers  probably  paid  a  poll-tax.  It  was  an  error  of  the 
jurists,  who  confused  this  tithe  with  the  tenth  paid  by  occu- 
pants of  Roman  public  land,  which  afterwards  led  to  the 
dangerous  legal  theory  that  Rome  had  acquired  the  whole 
soil  of  the  country  conquered  by  her  arms  and  leased  it  back 
for  a  consideration  to  the  original  proprietors.  As  a  matter 
of  fact,  few  of  the  provinces  were  remunerative  to  the  Roman 
state.  Spain,  where  warfare  was  incessant,  was  certainly  a 
heavy  loss.  Macedonia  was  no  source  of  profit.  Sicily, 
largely  owing  to  the  Roman  Peace,  became  the  granary  of 
the  capital,  but  Asia  alone  was  a  source  of  great  wealth  to 
the  treasury.  There  were,  of  course,  harbour  dues  for  the 
provinces  as  for  Italy  herself. 

On  the  whole,  it  is  fair  to  say  that  local  autonomy  was 
generally  preserved.  Either  through  policy  or,  more  prob- 
ably, because  the  Romans  habitually  took  things  as  they 
found  them,  the  previous  laws  and  constitutions  of  conquered 
units,  whether  cities  or  tribes,  remained  in  force.  In  Syracuse, 
for  example,  the  law  of  King  Hiero  remained,  and  it  was 
much  better  for  the  Sicilians  to  pay  their  taxes  to  Rome  than 
to  be  subject  to  the  personal  extortions  of  a  monster  like 
Agathocles.  In  law-suits  between  citizens  of  one  Sicilian 
state  the  trial  was  to  be  held  in  that  state  by  a  native  judge 
and  according  to  the  native  laws — possibly  with  a  right  of 
appeal  to  the  Roman  governor.  In  suits  between  Romans 
and  Sicilians  the  judge  was  to  be  a  native  of  the  defendant's 
state.  So  far  the  Roman  sway  is  the  mildest,  the  most 
benevolent  system  of  government  which  has  ever  been 



imposed  by  an  empire  upon  conquered  subjects.  Athens,  it 
will  be  remembered,  had  grown  rich  and  beautiful  by  mis- 
applying the  contributions  of  allies  which  she  had  converted 
into  the  tribute  of  subjects.  Sparta  had  put  garrisons  into 
every  conquered  city.  So  had  Carthage.  No  modern  power 
allows  as  much  local  autonomy  to  conquered  territories  as 
Rome  granted  to  hers. 

But  in  every  conquered  territory  it  was  necessary  to  have 
an  armed  force,  large  or  small  according  to  circumstances, 
and  for  the  soldiers  a  general.  As  all  the  Roman  magis- 
trates were  military  in  the  first  instance,  but  also  judicial  and 
executive — as,  in  fact,  the  nature  of  Roman  ideas  of  imperium 
implied  an  unlimited  competence  in  every  department  of  rule, 
the  provincial  general  was  also,  necessarily,  a  provincial  judge 
and  administrator  free  from  all  control  during  his  year  of 
office.  No  doubt  the  Romans,  if  they  had  possessed  the 
wisdom  and  retrospective  foresight  so  lavishly  displayed  by 
their  modern  critics,  would,  in  sending  officers  to  distant 
parts,  have  revised  their  notions  of  imperium  and  defined  the 
spheres  of  duty  which  they  entrusted  to  their  generals.  If 
they  had  studied  political  science  they  might  have  learnt  that 
it  is  wise  to  separate  the  legal  functions  from  the  administra- 
tive, and  both  from  the  military.  Or  if  they  had  made 
historical  researches,  they  might  have  discovered  that  the 
Persian  administrative  system  of  three  independent  function- 
aries in  each  satrapy  was  the  best  that  had  yet  been  discovered. 
But  they  did  none  of  these  things  :  they  simply  blundered 
on  in  the  old  Roman  way,  more  maiorum.  They  did  not 
foresee  the  demoralising  effect  of  absolute  power  in  an 
alien  and  subject  land.  They  did  not  foresee  the  necessity 
for  central  control  in  a  Roman  Colonial  Office  ;  there  was 
not  even  any  Latin  equivalent  for  the  Franco-Grecian  term 
"bureaucracy."  Thus  they  were  compelled  to  trust  to  the 
honour  and  sense  of  justice  which  was,  when  this  colossal 
experiment  began,  still  believed  to  exist  in  the  heart  of  a 
Roman  officer  and  gentleman,  unaware  that  corruption 


was  beginning  even  then  to  taint  the  whole  body  of  their 

They  might,  one  would  think,  have  realised  the  super- 
human temptations  in  the  path  of  a  Roman  governor.  He 
went  out,  with  a  company  of  his  own  friends,  chiefly  ambitious 
young  men,  for  a  staff,  with  a  senatorial  legate  chosen  by 
himself,  and  a  juvenile  quaestor  as  his  subordinate  to  keep 
accounts,  if  he  could :  for  there  was  no  competitive  examina- 
tion in  book-keeping.  The  governor  went  for  a  year  only 
among  a  people  whose  traditions,  laws,  and  even  language, 
were  probably  quite  unknown  to  him.  He  left  an  austere 
and  barbarous  republic  to  act  as  monarch  among  flattering 
Greeks  or  cringing  Asiatics.  No  power  on  earth  could  even 
criticise  him  while  he  held  the  imperium :  afterwards  he  might 
be  impeached,  it  is  true,  but  before  a  court  of  his  own  friends. 
He  had  just  completed  a  civic  magistracy,  and  these  were 
won  and  held  by  means  of  lavish  bribes  and  public  entertain- 
ments. Opportunities  to  recoup  himself  were  irresistible. 

True  to  the  mos  maiorum,  the  Romans  invented  no  new 
magistracy  for  the  provinces.  Already  as  early  as  the  Samnite 
Wars  they  had  found  it  necessary  sometimes  to  break  down 
the  annual  system  by  proroguing  a  magistrate's  term  of  office 
in  order  that  he  might  finish  a  campaign.  If  he  were  praetor 
or  consul,  he  continued  for  another  year  as  propraetor  or 
proconsul.  When  Sicily  was  conquered  the  Romans  added 
another  praetor  to  the  two  functionaries  already  existing, 
another  for  Sardinia,  and  two  more  for  Spain  ;  but  after  that 
the  new  provinces  were  entrusted  to  propraetors  and  pro- 
consuls, or,  in  case  of  a  war,  to  the  consuls  themselves  during 
the  latter  part  of  their  year  of  office.  The  senate  decided 
what  the  magisterial  provinces  should  be,  which  of  them 
should  be  consular,  and  then  generally  the  qualified  officers 
balloted  for  them. 

The  same  want  of  elasticity  in  the  Roman  system  spoilt 
their  good  intentions  in  the  matter  of  finance.  As  we  have 
seen,  the  State  imposed  no  crushing  burdens  upon  its  vassals. 



Had  the  stipendium  been  honestly  collected  by  official  emis- 
saries under  proper  control,  the  provincials  would  have  had 
little  cause  of  complaint.  But  the  Romans  here  again  pro- 
vided no  new  functionaries  for  the  new  duty.  In  some  cases 
they  allowed  the  subject  communities  to  collect  their  own 
taxes  and  forward  the  required  aggregate  to  Rome,  and  in 
such  cases  there  was  a  great  deal  of  peculation  on  the  way. 
But  where  this  was  impossible  the  senate  farmed  out  the 
collection  of  taxes  under  contract  to  certain  individuals  who 
bought  them  at  auction.  The  publicani  quickly  grew  into  a 
regular  institution,  grouping  themselves  into  capitalist  syn- 
dicates which  combined  tax-farming  with  money-lending. 
Banks  were  established  in  every  provincial  centre.  This 
capitalist  class  soon  established  itself  as  a  political  body  at 
Rome,  where  it  exerted  a  powerful  and  sinister  influence  over 
public  policy.  Just  below  the  senatorial  order  were  the 
equites.  Of  old  they  had  been  real  cavalry,  for  it  was  only 
the  rich  who  could  afford  to  maintain  a  horse  and  the  neces- 
sary equipment ;  now  it  was  mainly  a  titular  distinction, 
implying  a  certain  income.  It  was  here  that  the  bankers  of 
Rome  and  the  financial  interests  were  grouped  in  a  single 
powerful  class.  For  a  time  these  "horsemen"  actually 
secured  control  of  the  jury  courts  which  tried  charges  of 
extortion.  Then  the  lot  of  the  provincials  was  wretched 
indeed:  to  pay  their  greedy  and  extortionate  tax-gatherers 
they  had  often  to  borrow  from  the  same  individuals  in  their 
capacity  of  usurers,  and  then,  if  they  ventured  to  journey  to 
Rome  with  a  complaint,  they  would  meet  the  same  evil  class 
in  the  very  judges  who  heard  their  complaints.  This  was 
how  "publican  and  sinner"  came  to  be  an  appropriate  con- 

The  corruption,  as  we  shall  see  later,  began  to  be  serious 
with  the  acquisition  of  Asia.  At  first  the  incompetence  due 
to  the  inexperience  of  the  governors  and  their  staffs  was  the 
chief  failing  of  the  system.  But  when  Asia  with  its  stored-up 
capital,  its  possibilities  of  exploitation,  and  its  extreme  help- 


lessness,  fell  to  Rome,  traders  and  money-lenders  swarmed 
down  upon  it,  so  that  there  were  80,000  Italians  there  when 
Mithradates  ordered  his  famous  massacre.  -Thus  money 
poured  into  the  capital,  and  there  was  an  unseemly  scramble 
for  wealth.  But  for  the  present  we  are  only  concerned  with 
the  system  of  provincial  government  as  it  was  in  the  beginning. 
I  think  we  may  conclude  that  it  started  with  the  best  inten- 
tions, but  with  two  inherent  defects,  both  due  to  the  con- 
servatism of  the  Roman  character.  Their  constitution  was 
municipal  and  their  outlook  parochial.  Their  empire-building 
was  precisely  of  the  narrow-minded,  well-intentioned  character 
that  one  would  expect  if  the  Marylebone  Borough  Council 
suddenly  found  itself  presented  with  Ireland,  France,  and  half 
Spain,  and  asked  to  govern  them. 


A  poor  man  cannot  become  a  millionaire  without  at  leas 
altering  his  way  of  living,  and  a  little  backward  provincial 
town  cannot  find  itself  the  mistress  of  a  great  empire  without 
undergoing  very  profound  modifications.  In  208  B.C.  Rome 
was  struggling  for  her  life  with  a  foreign  enemy  raging  at  her 
gates.  Fifty  years  later  she  was  mistress  in  the  Mediter- 
ranean, and  owner  of  more  land  than  she  could  conceive. 

One  of  the  effects  of  the  change  was  a  prodigious  influx 
of  wealth  into  the  city.  In  war  indemnities  alone  six  or  seven 
millions  sterling  must  have  flowed  into  the  coffers  of  a  state 
which  had  till  recently  conducted  its  business  with  lumps  of 
copper.  In  loot  Rome  was  said  to  have  gained  above  two 
millions  in  the  Syrian  War,  and  about  the  same  in  the  Third 
Macedonian.  Vast  tracts  of  public  land  were  gained,  and 
there  was  a  steady  influx  of  tributary  corn  and  money :  public 
mines,  such  as  those  in  Spain,  must  be  added.  There  never 
had  been  regular  direct  taxation  in  the  city :  a  Roman  paid 
his  dues  in  the  form  of  personal  service,  and  a  tributum  was 
the  mark  of  defeat.  But  now  all  taxation  ceased  at  Rome 
except  an  indirect  tariff  on  salt  and  the  customs  at  the  ports. 

E  65 


Henceforth  Rome  was  living  on  her  empire  and  growing  fat 
upon  it.  It  is  true  that  expenditure  was  also  increasing.  In 
the  earliest  days  there  had  been  no  public  finance.  A  war 
was  conducted  by  a  citizen  army,  who  marched  out  for  a  few 
days'  campaigning  in  the  neighbourhood,  wearing  their  own 
armour  and  carrying  a  commissariat  provided  by  their  wives. 
The  only  public  expense  was  the  religious  duty  of  providing 
beasts  for  sacrifice,  and  even  that  was  largely  defrayed  by 
fines  paid  to  the  treasury.  But  now  expeditions  cost  money, 
armies  soldiering  for  months  in  distant  lands  had  to  be  fed 
and  maintained,  ships  had  to  be  built,  equipment  and  machines 
provided.  Nevertheless,  with  wise  financial  administration 
the  treasury  ought  to  have  had  a  decent  surplus.  But  wisdom 
in  finance  was  lacking  :  although  we  are  assured  that  book- 
keeping was  one  of  the  points  in  which  the  old  Roman  pater- 
familias especially  took  pride,  yet  the  public  treasury  of 
Rome,  which  had  the  temple  of  Saturn  for  its  bank,  was 
managed  by  the  quaestors,  the  lowest  grade  of  Roman 
official  life,  consisting  of  young  men  just  beginning  a  public 
career.  That  fact  alone  will  show  how  far  more  important 
the  Romans  regarded  .warfare  than  finance,  and  how  far 
wrong  are  those  historians  who  make  Roman  greatness  de- 
pendent upon  economic  advantages.  The  maladministration 
of  finance  was  not  due  to  dishonesty  at  first:  Polybius,  the 
Greek  historian,  who  was  brought  up  in  the  heart  of  Greek 
politics  under  Aratus,  the  cunning  chief  of  the  Achaean 
League,  and  came  to  Rome  in  the  second  century  as  a 
hostage,  was  genuinely  astonished  at  Roman  honesty.  Their 
financial  errors  were  due  to  sheer  inexperience  in  the  hand- 
ling of  large  sums  of  money. 

Little  of  this  vast  influx  of  money  was  spent  upon  public 
works.  To  begin  with,  there  was  not  the  taste  for  fine 
architecture  at  Rome,  nor  indeed  for  art  of  any  sort.  The 
private  houses  were  still  mainly  built  of  unbaked  bricks  or 
tiles,  often  with  thatched  or  shingled  roofs :  the  interiors  of 
the  bare  simplicity  of  a  country  farm-house.  And  then 


Roman  religion,  which,  as  we  have  seen,  was  always  some- 
what cold  towards  the  high  Olympian  gods,  offering  its 
real  devotion  to  obscurer  rustic  powers,  made  little  claim  for 
temples  and  stately  shrines.  Temples  had  been  built  under 
the  Etruscan  domination  in  the  fifth  century  B.C.  But  there- 
after for  a  period  of  four  centuries  there  is  an  almost  complete 
blank  in  the  annals  of  Roman  archaeology.  If  anything  was 
built  between  Tarquin  and  Sulla  it  was  generally  of  wood 
and  brick  or  rubble  with  no  architectural  pretensions. 
Augustus  swept  it  all  away  with  contempt.  Of  course  it  was 
the  fashion  for  Cato  and  the  old  Roman  party  to  say  they 
preferred  good  old  Roman  temples  with  the  painted  terra- 
cotta ornaments  to  all  the  new-fashioned  fripperies  of  Greece  ; 
but  that  is  only  the  spleen  of  the  outraged  Philistine.  These 
centuries  of  growth  are  empty  of  art. 

What  the  nouveaux  riches  of  the  second  century  B.C.  found 
to  spend  their  money  on  it  is  hard  to  say.  In  218  B.C.  the 
people  passed  a  resolution  as  the  Lex  Claudia  forbidding 
senators  to  engage  in  foreign  commerce.  It  is  very  unlikely 
that  the  senate  would  have  allowed  that  if  they  had  already 
been  deeply  involved  in  business.  But  this  enactment 
checked  the  only  fruitful  use  of  wealth  :  it  turned,  and  was 
possibly  intended  to  turn,  the  money  of  the  great  houses  into 
land  speculation.  This  was  followed  by  disastrous  results. 
The  Punic  Wars  had  thrown  millions  of  acres  out  of  cultiva- 
tion. That  land  which  had  belonged  to  rebels  passed  to  the 
Roman  state  as  public  land  and  the  scramble  for  it  was  the 
cause  of  momentous  political  conflicts  in  the  succeeding 
generation.  But  rich  senators  acquired  enormous  estates 
without  any  deep  interest  in  their  economic  productiveness. 
Like  the  old  English  squire  the  old  Roman  senator  was  not 
a  professional  nor  even  a  very  serious  landowner,  and  more- 
over he  was  an  absentee.  Thus  large  tracts  of  Central  Italy 
became  the  estates  of  rich  men  who  added  park  to  park  and 
villa  to  villa  rather  as  a  hobby  than  for  any  good  reason. 
The  common  notion  of  Italy  before  the  Punic  Wars  as  a  vast 


smiling  cornfield,  dotted  with  little  farm-houses  and  country 
cottages  full  of  stalwart  husbandmen,  is  both  unhistorical  and 
ungeographical.  The  Italian  farmer  lived — like  the  mediaeval 
European  farmer — mostly  in  townships  which  he  called 
"  cities,"  and  it  was  only  the  plain-land  in  the  vicinity  of  a 
town  which  was  regularly  ploughed  and  sown.  A  glance  at 
the  map  will  show  how  little  of  Central  Italy  is  suited  for 
cereal  cultivation.  But,  if  the  records  are  true,  400  Italian 
townships  had  been  destroyed  in  the  great  wars  and  that 
meant,  perhaps,  400,000  acres  out  of  cultivation.  And  what 
had  become  of  their  inhabitants  ?  Thousands,  of  course,  had 
left  their  bones  on  Roman  battlefields,  but  thousands  more, 
when  their  term  of  service  was  done,  went  to  swell  the 
proletariat  of  Rome.  There  they  herded  in  ill-built,  ill- 
drained  quarters  on  the  low  ground  of  the  city.  Physically 
and  morally  they  declined.  What  is  perhaps  worse,  they 
could  not  perpetuate  their  breed  under  the  new  conditions. 
It  takes  generations  for  the  human  animal  to  adapt  itself  to 
new  conditions.  Modern  Europe  has  seen  the  enormous 
influx  into  towns  accompanied  by  a  decline  in  the  birth-rates, 
and  the  swollen  town-populations  are  only  maintained  by 
constant  influx  from  the  country.  It  has  truly  been  said  that 
the  future  rests  with  the  race  which  can  most  readily  adapt 
itself  to  such  new  conditions.  But  the  Romans  never  could. 
The  humbler  quarters  of  the  city,  though  they  grew  more  and 
more  populous,  grew,  it  seems,  by  immigration  and  not  by 
natural  increase.  Thus  the  populace  of  Rome  became  more 
and  more  cosmopolitan,  less  and  less  Roman.  These  generali- 
sations are  apparently  well  founded,  but  it  must  not  be 
forgotten  that  we  know  scarcely  anything  of  the  free  poor  at 
Rome.  A  nation  of  orators  generally  forgets  to  speak  of  the 
butcher,  the  baker,  and  his  colleagues.  It  is  as  impossible 
to  believe  that  all  trade  and  industry  at  Rome  was  carried  on 
by  slaves  as  that  the  poor  of  a  city  can  live  by  bread  alone. 
"Bread  and  the  circus"  is  a  respectable  phrase,  as  true  as 
epigrams  ever  are,  but  it  cannot  be  the  whole  truth. 


As  we  have  seen  in  the  case  of  Greece,  all  ancient  city- 
states  undertook  duties  which  the  modern  individualistic 
community  regards,  up  to  the  present  at  least,  as  private  and 

Map  of  Italy,  showing  ground  over  1000  feet  high 

not  public.  The  city-state  regarded  it  as  part  of  its  business 
to  see  that  its  shareholders  did  not  starve,  therefore  the 
supply  of  corn  and  the  price  of  it  was  always  a  matter  of 
state  supervision.  From  the  earliest  days  of  Roman  history 
there  had  been  officers  charged  with  the  duty  of  securing 



the  city's  corn-supply  at  reasonable  charges.  Now  the  corn 
was  beginning  to  arrive  in  the  form  of  tribute  from  Sicily 
and  Africa.  Soon  we  shall  have  the  agrarian  laws  and  all 
the  disorder  that  resulted  from  them.  But  it  is  important 
to  observe  that  the  depopulation  of  the  Italian  countryside 
resulted  from  war  and  politics  as  well  as  from  economic  causes. 
Of  course  economic  causes  kept  it  depopulated.  Nature 
never  intended  Central  Italy  for  a  wheat-growing  land ;  the 
vine,  the  olive,  and  the  fig  are  its  best  products.  Now  that 
the  seas  were  open  for  free  imports  it  no  longer  paid  to 
plough  and  sow  the  stony  upland  farms. 

So  the  land  passed  out  of  cultivation.  As  in  England, 
grazing  was  found  to  be  cheaper,  easier,  and  more  profitable 
than  agriculture.  Oxen  were  used  for  ploughing  or  reserved 
for  sacrifice.  The  Italians,  like  the  Greeks,  seldom  ate  meat 
and  then  little  but  smoked  bacon,  but  as  all  Romans  wore 
the  woollen  toga  sheep-farming  was  profitable.  In  summer 
the  sheep  grazed  on  the  Sabine  hills,  in  winter  on  the  Latin 
plain  among  the  stubble  of  the  cornfields  or  beneath  the  olive- 
trees.  Wild  slave-shepherds  tended  them. 
t  Slavery  was  the  canker  at  the  root  of  ancient  civilisation. 
It  assumed  more  awful  proportions  at  Rome  than  in  Greece 
owing  to  the  hard  materialism  of  the  Roman  character.  Of 
course  it  had  existed  from  the  earliest  times  as  the  common 
lot  of  the  prisoner  of  war.  The  sturdy  Roman  farmer,  so 
dear  to  Roman  rhetoric,  was  after  all  little  more  than  a  sturdy 
slave-driver.  The  actual  field  labour  had  always  been  in  the 
hands  of  slaves.  As  early  as  367  B.C.,  if  we  may  believe  the 
records  of  that  age,  legislation  had  attempted  to  fix  a  certain 
proportion  of  free  labour  on  country  estates.  From  the  first, 
too,  the  slave  had  been  the  merest  chattel,  a  colleague  of 
the  dog,  a  little  lower  even  than  the  wife  or  daughter  of  the 
Roman  house-father.  It  was  cheaper  to  buy  slaves  than  to 
let  them  breed,  cheaper  to  sell  them  for  what  they  would 
fetch  when  they  grew  old  than  to  keep  them.  You  could 
dodge  the  gods,  who  enjoined  holidays  even  for  slaves,  by 


giving  your  slaves  work  indoors  on  feast-days — such  are  some 
of  the  maxims  of  the  venerable  Cato,  who  is  the  type  of  the  old 
Roman  squire,  and  who  personally  attended  to  the  scourging 
of  his  slaves  after  dinner.  Now  slaves  were  becoming  more 
numerous  and  cheaper  than  ever — you  might  have  to  pay  as 
much  as  ^1000  for  a  pretty  boy  or  girl — but  a  wild  Sardinian 
or  Gaul  or  Spaniard  cost  very  little.  Hence  began  the  really 
pernicious  system  of  specialised  slavery.  A  wealthy  Roman 
moved  neither  hand  nor  foot  for  himself.  To  have  only  ten 
slaves  was  contemptible  poverty.  Each  slave  was  trained 
simply  for  one  special  task — cook,  barber,  footman,  bearer, 
lacquey,  or  schoolmaster.  The  shepherds  and  gladiators 
might  retain  their  manhood,  as  indeed  they  did,  and  showed 
it  in  frightful  revolts  during  this  and  the  succeeding  generation. 
But  the  domestic  slaves  of  the  capital  had  no  hope  but  to 
cringe  and  wheedle  their  way  into  favour  by  flattering  and 
corrupting  their  masters.  One  alleviation  of  the  slave's  lot 
there  was :  it  was  easier  for  a  slave  to  earn  his  freedom  at 
Rome  than  in  Greece.  But  this  type  of  person  when  liberated, 
and  his  children  after  him,  made  the  worst  type  of  citizen,  and 
tended  still  further  to  corrupt  the  tone  of  the  proletariat. 
Worse  than  domestic  slavery  was  the  plantation  system, 
which  during  all  this  period  was  growing  in  the  country.  At 
its  worst  it  meant  huge  slave  barracks,  in  which  the  slaves 
lived  in  dungeons  underground  and  worked  by  day  in  gangs, 
chained  night  and  day.  It  was  a  profitable  system  of  agri- 
culture and  it  rapidly  ousted  free  labour.  In  the  city  too,  in  the 
merchant  ships  and  the  mines,  a  cruel  and  vicious  system  of 
servitude  was  destroying  free  industry.  Truly  the  hollowest 
of  historic  frauds  was  the  eighteenth-century  view  of  an 
idealised  Roman  republic  of  citizens,  free,  equal,  and  fraternal. 
It  inspired  the  Convention  and  coloured  the  periods  of 
Mirabeau,  but  so  far  as  the  records  prove,  the  virtuous  and 
liberal  old  Roman  never  existed. 

Equality  beyond  the   name  was   certainly  unknown    at 
Rome.     All  government  was  in  the  hands  of  a  close  circle  of 

aristocrats  whose  stronghold  was  in  the  senate.  By  virtue  of 
the  client  system  the  great  houses  of  the  Claudii,  the  Cornelii, 
the  Fabii,  the  Livii,  the  Flaminii,  the  Julii,  and  a  dozen  others 
kept  the  high  offices  of  state  exclusively  in  their  hands.  By 
this  time  the  censors  drew  up  the  senate-lists  chiefly  from 
the  ranks  of  ex-magistrates,  and  the  magistracies  became  a 
graduated  course.  It  required  extraordinary  pushfulness  or 
wealth  or  patronage  for  a  new  man  to  insinuate  himself  into 
,  the  charmed  circle.  The  old  patriciate  had  gone,  politically 
at  least,  and  only  survived  for  religious  purposes,  but  Rome 
still  remained  a  thrall  to  aristocracy  of  a  far  more  dangerous 
type,  an  aristocracy  of  office.  One  of  the  troubles  of  Rome 
lay  in  the  fact  that  this  aristocracy  was  daily  becoming  less 
warlike  and  less  competent. 

A  great  deal  of  nonsense  has  been  talked  about  the  luxury 
of  the  Romans  as  one  of  the  causes  of  their  decline.  Even 
Mommsen  relates  with  shocked  emotion  that  they  imported 
anchovies  from  the  Black  Sea  and  wine  from  Greece.  Two 
hot  meals  a  day  they  had  and  "  frivolous  articles  "  including 
bronze-mounted  couches.  There  were  professional  cooks, 
and  actually  bakers'  shops  began  to  appear  about  171  B.C. 
It  is  true  that  all  this  luxury  would  pale  into  insignificance 
before  the  modern  artisan's  breakfast-table  with  bread  from 
Russia,  bacon  from  America,  tea  from  Ceylon  or  coffee  from 
Brazil,  sugar  from  Jamaica,  and  eggs  from  Denmark.  Cato 
would  have  swooned  at  the  sight  of  our  picture-frames  coated 
with  real  gold,  for  he  publicly  stigmatised  a  senator  who  had 
£30  worth  of  silver  plate.  The  truth  is  that  Rome  having 
grown  rich  was  just  beginning  to  grow  civilised.  It  is  the 
everlasting  misfortune  of  Rome  that  events  occurred  in  that 

In  conquering  Macedon  Rome  had  become  acquainted 
with  civilisation.  At  that  date  civilisation  meant  Hellenism 
slightly  tinctured  with  Orientalism,  a  culture  which,  though  still 
alive  and  still  original  and  creative,  was  certainly  past  its 
prime.  The  Hellenistic  period  of  Greek  art  has  been  unjustly 



depreciated  in  comparison  with  the  more  youthful  and  virile 
age  of  Pericles.  But  it  could  still  boast  of  great  scholars, 
scientists,  and  philosophers,  both  at  Alexandria  and  Athens. 
Theocritus,  Bion,  and  Moschus  form  a  group  of  original  poets 
who  are  really  great,  and  an  art  that  could  produce  the  lovely 
Aphrodite  of  Melos  cannot  with  justice  be  termed  decadent. 
Politically,  morally,  and  physically  Greece  was  no  doubt  long 
past  the  vigour  of  her  youth,  but  intellectually  she  was  still 
well  qualified  to  play  the  part  of  schoolmistress  to  the  lusty 
young  barbarian  of  the  West.  We  have  seen  that  in  very 
remote  times  Rome  had  come  under  Etruscan  influences  which 
were  closely  akin  to  Greek.  There  had  been  some  inter- 
change, if  tradition  may  be  trusted,  of  Greek  and  Etruscan 
art  and  artists.  Greek  painters  had  worked  in  Rome  at  a 
very  early  date.  Then  came  perhaps  two  centuries  of  relapse 
in  the  cultural  sense  while  Rome  was  busy  with  warfare  and 
conquest.  In  300  B.C.  she  was  almost  entirely  destitute  of 
accomplishments,  and  even,  if  we  may  except  law,  politics,  and 
military  skill,  of  civilisation.  The  war  with  Pyrrhus,  the 
conquest  of  Tarentum  and  then  of  Sicily  brought  in  Greek 
slaves,  and  semi-Greek  South- Italian  citizens  who  were  bound 
to  have  some  influence.  Then  came  direct  dealings  with 
Greece  in  the  three  Macedonian  wars,  and  every  Roman  who 
had  fought  with  Flamininus  or  Paulus  returned  to  Rome  if 
not  an  apostle  of  culture  at  any  rate  a  man  who  had  seen 
civilisation  with  his  own  eyes  and  could  no  longer  regard  old 
Roman  ways  as  sufficient  for  man's  happiness.  How  could 
eyes  that  had  seen  the  Zeus  of  Pheidias  at  Olympia  glowing 
with  ivory  and  gold  be  content  with  the  old  vermilion  Jove  of 
his  native  temple  ? 

Nevertheless  it  was  very  slowly  that  culture  filtered  in. 
All  through  the  third  century  and  for  the  first  half  of  the 
second  Rome  was  still  incessantly  occupied  with  war.  Her 
tastes  were  brutalised  and  demoralised  by  it.  When  drama 
painfully  began,  the  dramatists  sadly  lamented  that  their 
audiences  would  desert  the  theatre  for  the  sight  of  a  rope- 



dancer  or  a  beast-baiting  or,  better  still,  a  pair  of  gladiators. 
From  the  first  it  was  vain  to  attempt  the  creation  of  a  national 
drama  for  a  people  whose  craving  was  for  the  sight  of  blood. 
Gladiatoral  combats  are  said  to  have  been  of  Etruscan  origin. 
They  first  appeared  at  Rome  in  the  early  part  of  the  third 
century  in  connection  with  funeral  displays.  From  every 
African  expedition  wild  beasts  were  brought  home  to  be 
slaughtered  in  the  Roman  amphitheatres.  These  bloody 
shows  indicate  the  real  tastes  of  the  Romans  from  the  earliest 
times.  They  are  no  spurious  growth  of  the  so-called 
"degenerate  Empire."  On  one  occasion,  when  the  music  of 
some  Greek  flute-players  failed  to  please  a  Roman  audience, 
the  presiding  magistrate  ordered  the  unlucky  artists  to  fight 
one  another,  and  the  hoots  of  the  crowd  were  instantly 
transformed  to  rapturous  applause. 

All  the  arts  were  held  in  contempt,  all  were  entrusted  to 
slaves  or  the  poorest  kind  of  citizens.  Thus  Hellenic  civilisa- 
tion was  transported  to  Rome  under  a  double  disadvantage. 
Not  only  was  Greek  civilisation  itself  already  past  its  prime, 
but  it  was  interpreted  largely  by  slaves.  Every  Roman  of 
position  had  Greeks  among  his  retinue — not,  of  course,  the 
citizens  of  famous  cities  like  Athens  or  Alexandria,  which 
were  still  free,  but  low-caste,  half-barbarian  wretches  from  the 
great  market  at  Delos  or  from  the  southern  towns  of  Italy— 
for  clerks,  accountants,  scribes,  jesters,  procurers,  physicians, 
pedagogues,  flute-players,  philosophers,  cooks,  concubines, 
and  schoolmasters.  We  may  be  sure  that  it  was  not  the  most 
favourable  type  of  Hellenism  that  would  creep  into  Rome  by 
such  channels  as  these.  But  it  was  precisely  in  this  manner 
that  Roman  literature  began.  The  noble  general  M.  Livius 
Salinator  brought  from  Tarentum  in  about  275  B.C.  a  Greek 
slave  named  Andronikos,  as  a  tutor  for  his  sons.  This 
man  received  his  liberty,  and  as  Livius  Andronicus  set  up  a 
school.  For  his  school  he  required  books,  and  as  there  was 
no  other  text-book  in  Latin  but  the  XII  Tables,  he  under- 
took the  translation  of  Homer's  Odyssey  into  the  native 


Italian  measure  of  Saturnian  verse.  His  work  was,  of  course, 
very  indifferently  performed,  but  it  remained  a  primer  of 
education  down  to  the  schooldays  of  Horace.  Emboldened 
by  this  success  he  proceeded  to  supply  the  Roman  stage  with 
translations  of  Greek  tragedies. 

Such  was  the  beginning ;  the  sequel  was  not  much  more 
promising.  Naevius  was  a  Campanian  who  translated  Greek 
comedies  and  tragedies.  In  the  former  he  attempted  the  old 
Greek  custom  of  political  allusions,  but  speedily  found  that 
there  was  no  such  liberty  of  speech  in  Rome  as  had  prevailed 
in  the  palmy  days  of  Athenian  comedy.  An  allusion  to  the 
Metellus  family  brought  the  famous  and  thoroughly  old  Roman 
poetical  retort : 

dabunt  malum  Metelli  Naevio  poetae, 

and  was  fulfilled  by  the  imprisonment  of  the  dramatist.  Thus 
the  beginnings  of  literature  at  Rome  were  by  no  means  easy. 
The  dramatists  were  hampered  by  severe  police  restrictions 
as  well  as  by  the  barbarity  of  their  public.  It  is  interesting 
to  note  that  both  these  poets  also  attempted  the  epic  style. 
Livius  Andronicus  was  actually  commissioned  by  the  priests 
to  celebrate  the  victory  of  Sena  in  verse,  and  Naevius  wrote 
an  account  of  the  First  Punic  War. 

For  comedy  the  Romans  appear  to  have  had  some  natural 
taste.  It  seems  that  a  very  rude  and  barbaric  form  of 
dramatic  dialogue  mixed  with  buffoonery  was  native  to  Italy  in 
the  Fescennine  Songs,  though  even  these  are  said  to  have  been 
of  Etruscan  invention.  So  the  Romans  at  their  festivals  were 
content  to  listen  to  comedies  if  the  humour  was  obvious  enough, 
if  there  was  plenty  of  horseplay.  The  setting  was  wretched 
indeed.  Instead  of  the  magnificent  marble  theatres  of  Greece, 
wooden  booths  were  temporarily  erected  in  the  amphitheatre, 
and  a  noisy  disorderly  audience  listened  with  good-humoured 
contempt  to  the  efforts  of  the  actors  who  tried  to  amuse  them. 
Sometimes  the  chorus  would  be  sung  by  trained  musicians, 
while  the  actors  on  the  stage  illustrated  the  inaudible  words  by 


pantomimic  gestures.  It  was  utterly  crude  and  inartistic  from 
beginning  to  end,  and  in  deplorable  contrast  to  the  beginnings 
of  Drama  in  Greece.  There  it  had  been  a  national  service  of 
worship  to  the  gods.  Here  it  was  a  trivial  amusement  in  the 
hands  of  slaves  and  foreigners. 

Of  the  three  great  comedians,  Plautus,  though  a  genuine 
free  Italian  of  Umbria,  had  been  reduced  by  poverty  to 
the  position  almost  of  a  slave  ;  Cscilius  was  a  prisoner 
of  war  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Milan,  who  had  been 
brought  to  Rome  as  a  slave  and  then  set  free ;  Terence 
was  a  Carthaginian  by  birth,  belonging  as  a  slave  to  the 
Senator  Terentius  Lucanus,  and  subsequently  being 
liberated  became  a  friend  of  the  younger  Scipio.  Ennius, 
the  "father"  of  epic  verse  and  tragedy,  was  a  client  of  the 
elder  Scipio  and  a  Greek-speaking  Calabrian  by  birth. 
Pacuvius,  the  best  of  the  early  tragedians,  was  a  native  of 
Brundisium,  and  therefore  more  Greek  than  Roman  ;  he  too 
belonged  to  the  Scipionic  circle.  The  activity  of  these 
writers  belongs  mainly  to  the  first  half  of  the  second  century. 
Not  one  of  them  was  a  Roman  by  origin,  still  less  was  there 
anything  distinctively  Roman  in  their  work.  Except  from 
the  linguistic  point  of  view  there  is  little  to  be  said  about  any 
of  them.  The  comic  dramatists  were  engaged  in  trans- 
lating the  work  of  the  Greek  comedians  of  the  third  phase, 
especially  Menander  and  Philemon.  To  meet  the  demand 
for  more  plot,  more  action,  with  less  dialogue  and  less  poetry, 
they  would  generally  make  a  patchwork  of  two  or  three 
Greek  plays.  From  the  artistic  point  of  view  the  work  was 
clumsily  done.  There  was  little  pretence  of  Romanising  the 
characters  or  the  scenes,  generally  they  were  frankly  Greek 
with  strange  intrusions  from  Roman  life.  The  source  from 
which  they  drew  was  by  now  a  stereotyped  comedy  of 
manners  with  stock  characters — the  heavy  father,  either  an 
indulgent  debauchee  or  a  stingy  curmudgeon  ;  the  old  woman, 
generally  a  procuress  ;  the  gay  and  profligate  young  hero  ; 
the  fair  heroine,  generally  a  meretrix,  and  a  background  of 


parasites,  bullies,  pandars,  slave-dealers,  and  scoundrelly 
slaves,  who  came  in  for  recurrent  beatings  to  the  great  enter- 
tainment of  the  audience.  The  situations  are  also  "  taken 
from  stock,"  facial  resemblances,  disguised  strangers,  mistaken 
identities,  veiled  women  and  so  forth.  The  "love  interest," 
such  as  it  is,  almost  invariably  centres  round  the  desire  of 
a  young  profligate  for  a  courtesan.  The  atmosphere  is 
generally  brutal  and  immoral.  There  is  often  a  ludicrous 
want  of  dramatic  imagination  in  the  stage  management.  Yet 
the  comedies  of  Plautus  and  Terence  have  played  a  larger 
part  in  monasteries  and  schoolrooms  than  any  other  literature 
in  the  world,  and  through  Shakespeare  and  Moliere  have  had 
a  decisive  influence  in  the  history  of  the  drama.  We  do  not 
possess  enough  of  the  original  Greek  sources  to  say  very 
definitely  how  much  was  contributed  by  the  Roman  dramatists 
of  their  own.  Where  we  do  get  passages  for  comparison 
the  Latin  version  has  generally  lost  a  great  deal  in  wit  and 
neatness  of  expression.  The  prologues,  so  far  as  they  are 
genuine,  are  at  any  rate  in  the  case  of  Plautus  extremely  bald 
and  crude.  "  Now  I  will  tell  you  why  I  have  come  forward 
here  and  what  I  intend  in  order  that  you  may  know  the 
name  of  this  play.  For  so  far  as  the  story  goes  it  is  a  short 
one.  Now  I  will  tell  you  what  I  was  anxious  to  inform  you 
of:  the  name  of  this  play  in  Greek  is  Onagos — Demophilus 
(or  Diphilus?)  composed  it,  Maccius  turned  it  into  Latin. 
He  wishes  it  called  Asinaria,  if  you  please."  And  so  he 
proceeds  to  unwind  his  plot  and  relate  how  the  young  spend- 
thrift Argyrripus  won  the  favours  of  the  courtesan  Philenium 
by  duping  her  mother,  the  procuress,  and  cheating  his  mother, 
a  shrew,  out  of  twenty  minae  by  the  co-operation  of  his  immoral 
old  father  who  hoped  to  secure  the  young  woman  for  himself. 
It  would  be  wrong,  however,  to  underrate  the  literary 
merits  of  Plautus  and  Terence.  These  authors  reveal  to  us 
something  of  the  natural  speech  of  the  Roman — Plautus  in 
particular,  for  Terence  is  already  far  more  "  classical "  in 
his  language.  It  is  not  always  easy  to  say  how  far  the 



amusement  which  we  get  from  them  is  legitimate,  or  how  far 
it  is  laughter  at  the  expense  of  their  antique  artlessness  and 
clumsiness.  But  Plautus  has  a  rich  vein  of  simple  humour 
and  an  irresistible  sly  appeal  to  his  audience  which  often 
makes  one  unconscious  of  the  garbage  in  which  he  is  dealing. 
Terence  has  a  polish,  a  graceful  way  of  putting  the  obvious, 
and  a  purity  of  diction  which  sometimes  makes  his  young  men 
seem  almost  gentlemen  and  his  young  women  almost  virtuous. 
There  is  a  great  deal  of  sound  worldly  morality  in  Terence 
and  some  pure  sentiment.  But  it  is  necessary  here  to  lay 
stress  upon  the  fact  that  the  literary  arts  of  Rome  never 
possessed  the  fresh  innocence  or  even  the  simple  coarseness 
of  youth.  It  was  little  harm,  perhaps,  that  the  gladiators,  the 
rope-dancers,  the  bear-baiters,  and  the  charioteers  won  the 
day  in  the  affections  of  Roman  audiences. 

Father  Ennius,  too,  in  his  tragedies  was  little  more  than 
a  translator.  He  was  employed  consciously  by  the  great 
Scipio  to  educate  and  broaden  the  Roman  taste.  He  had 
learnt  of  the  Greek  philosophers  to  disbelieve  in  the  gods,  or 
rather  he  had  learnt  the  deadly  Euhemerist  doctrine  that  the 
gods  of  Olympus  are  but  the  memories  of  long  dead  human 
heroes,  or  that  they  sit,  as  Epicurus  also  taught, 

"  On  the  hills  .  .  .  together  careless  of  mankind." 

"ego  deum  genus  esse  dixi  et  dicam  semper  caelitum, 
sed  eos  non  curare  opinor  quid  agat  humanum  genus, 
nam  si  curent,  bene  bonis  sit,  male  malis,  quod  nunc  abest." 

At  the  age  of  fifty  Ennius  set  himself  to  relate  the  whole 
of  Roman  history  in  eighteen  books  of  epic  verse.  No  one 
claims  for  him  the  rank  of  a  great  poet,  but  he  shaped  for 
Vergil's  hand  that  magnificent  instrument  the  Latin  hexa- 
meter, and  many  scholars  believe  that  he  vitally  affected 
the  literary  language  of  Rome  by  preserving  the  terminal 
inflexions  which  were  dropping  out  of  current  speech.  All 
the  fragments  of  Ennius  that  have  survived,  though  often 
rough  and  ugly,  yet  possess  a  massive  dignity  of  their  own, 


and  often  a  most  solemn  majesty  of  cadence,  as  in  the  lines 
with  which  I  have  headed  this  chapter.     But  here  again  we 
must   notice  that  the   rugged   father   of  Latin   poetry  had 
already  taken  over  the  scepticism  of  the  declining  religion  of  • 

For  many  generations  now  Roman  religion  had  been 
losing  its  native  character  and  becoming  cosmopolitan 
and  denationalised.  As  we  have  seen,  its  genuinely  native 
elements  were  mainly  rural  and  now  the  Roman  was  a 
townsman  with  a  townsman's  light  scepticism  and  craving  for 
novelty  and  sensation.  Jupiter  and  Minerva  and  the  other 
high  gods  had  from  the  first  been  largely  foreigners  ;  at  any 
rate  few  discernibly  Latin  ideas  appear  in  the  cults  or  per- 
sonalities. As  early  as  204  B.C.,  that  is,  in  the  throes  of  the 
Great  Punic  War,  the  worship  of  Cybele — the  Great  Mother 
of  Phrygian  ritual — had  been  introduced  along  with  its 
begging  eunuch  priests.  Apollo  with  appropriate  athletic 
games  had  arrived  a  few  years  earlier.  New  gods  multiplied, 
old  gods  became  hellenised,  Roman  priesthoods  became  more 
and  more  political,  being  simply  obtained  by  popular  election 
like  any  other  public  office,  or  crack  dining-clubs  for  the 
aristocracy.  As  the  gods  multiplied  faith  declined.  Ini86B.c. 
the  Senate  discovered  a  whole  system  of  secret  nocturnal 
orgies  which  under  the  name  of  Bacchic  mysteries  had  spread 
with  extraordinary  rapidity  throughout  Italy.  Ten  thousand 
men  were  arrested  and  condemned,  mostly  to  death,  but  the 
associations  flourished  unchecked. 

Morality,  public  and  private,  was  equally  unsound.  Publicly 
we  have  sufficient  stories  of  bribery  by  candidates  for  office — 
not  to  mention  the  systematic  corruption  of  the  electorate 
by  corn-doles  and  shows — to  prove  that  political  unclean- 
ness  was  of  very  old  standing  in  Rome.  As  for  private 
virtue  it  may  be  that  the  world  of  pimps  and  prostitutes 
which  flits  across  the  Plautine  stage  is  borrowed  from  Athens, 
but  it  was  certainly  familiar  at  Rome  and  rapidly  domesticated 
itself.  Slavery  had  always  existed  there,  and  immorality  is 


inseparable  from  slavery.  Now  with  a  mob  of  retired  soldiers 
gathered  promiscuously  and  without  employment  in  the 
capital  immorality  was  multiplied  in  every  class.  As  early 
as  234  B.C.  there  was  public  complaint  of  the  unwillingness  of 
the  Roman  men  of  good  family  to  face  the  responsibilities 
of  marriage.  Already,  as  in  the  case  of  C.  Calpurnius  Piso, 
there  were  horrible  domestic  tragedies  in  great  houses. 
Divorce  was  already  common.  As  usual  the  Pharisees  of 
the  day  strove  to  combat  immorality  with  prudishness.  Cato 
the  Censor  punished  a  Roman  senator  for  kissing  his  wife  in 
the  presence  of  their  daughter. 

Now,  let  it  be  remembered  that  this  very  age  of  which 
we  are  speaking,  the  age  of  conquest  in  the  Punic  and  Greek 
wars,  is  the  heroic  age  of  Roman  history,  the  age  to  which 
poets  and  historians  of  the  empire  looked  back  as  golden. 
We  do  not  rely  upon  satirists  or  gossip-dealers  for  this  gloomy 
picture  of  Rome  in  her  palmy  days.  The  facts  upon  which 
it  is  based  are  beyond  dispute.  What  inference  are  we  to 
draw?  Reviewing  those  facts  and  especially  noticing  the 
dates,  we  see  that  all  the  vicious  features  of  Roman  society, 
the  cruelty,  the  idleness,  the  debauchery,  the  political  cor- 
ruption, the  lack  of  artistic  taste,  the  immorality  and  crime 
in  the  noble  houses,  the  injustice  and  oppression  of  the  poor 
and  helpless,  are  no  products  of  the  Empire,  but  deeply 
engrained  in  the  Roman  character  and  entwined  about  the 
roots  of  her  history.  In  our  pursuit  of  old  Roman  virtue  we 
may  go  to  the  furthest  bounds  of  historical  record  in  vain. 
No  doubt,  before  Rome  began  to  be  a  city  and  long  before 
she  began  to  have  a  history,  there  were  simple  laborious 
rustics  on  the  Latin  plains,  who  possessed,  for  want  of  oppor- 
tunity, the  virtuous  abstinences  of  the  poor.  But  it  is  mani- 
festly false  to  ascribe  degeneration  either  to  the  fall  of  the 
Republican  system  of  government  or  to  the  introduction  of 
civilisation.  If  one  cause  more  than  another  is  to  be  assigned 
for  the  rapid  growth  of  evil  tendencies  it  is  the  exhaustion 


consequent  upon  incessant  warfare  and  the  brutality  engen- 
dered by  continual  life  in  camp.  The  only  thing  that  could 
mitigate  the  latter  was  surely  education  and  culture.  Instead, 
then,  of  Greek  civilisation  being  the  cause  of  degeneracy  at 
Rome  we  may  more  truthfully  assert  that  it  came  to  save  her 
from  ruin  at  a  time  when  she  was  threatened  with  internal 
decay.  Had  it  come  earlier  or  been  accepted  more  willingly  it 
might  have  done  more  to  brighten  the  darker  pages  of  Roman 
history.  It  was  their  starved  souls,  empty  of  ideals,  devoid 
even  of  reasonable  occupation  for  their  leisure  or  harmless  use 
for  their  wealth,  which  rendered  the  aristocracy  of  Rome  so 
utterly  vulgar  and  debased. 




urbem  uenalem  et  mature  perituram  si  emptorem  inuenerit. 

Jugurtha  in  SALLUST. 

HERE  is  no  doubt  that  many  of  the  dis- 
quieting symptoms  which  we  have  just 
noted  as  afflicting  Roman  society  in  the 
second  century  B.C.  might  have  been 
allayed,  and  possibly  even  the  causes  re- 
moved, by  a  wise  and  foreseeing  govern- 
ment. In  dealing  with  the  allies  and 
subjects  who  formed  her  vast  and  growing 
empire  any  modern  politician  could  have 
told  the  senate  that  they  had  to  choose  one 
of  two  courses — either  centralisation  or 
devolution  of  power,  either  a  just  and  firm  system  of  control 
or  a  liberal  grant  of  autonomous  rights.  But  the  senate 
had  no  policy.  It  left  things  to  shape  themselves.  Again, 
the  agrarian  difficulty  of  a  deserted  countryside  and  an  idle, 
disorderly  city  proletariat  could  easily  have  been  solved  if  it 
had  been  taken  early,  before  the  habit  of  city-life  grew  upon 
the  discharged  warriors.  Again  the  senate  did  nothing  till 
it  was  too  late.  Then,  having  acquired  an  overseas  empire 
all  over  the  Mediterranean,  the  senate,  if  it  had  not  been 
blind,  should  have  seen  that  it  was  necessary  to  maintain  a 
strong  navy  and  police  the  seas  in  the  interests  of  commerce. 
But  again  the  government  neglected  its  duty.  For  these  and 
many  other  sins  of  negligence  there  was  a  heavy  reckoning 
to  be  paid.  It  required  no  oracle  to  foretell  disaster. 


While  the  mass  of  the  senate  sat  by  inert  and  helpless, 
allowing  the  helm  of  state  to  sway  from  side  to  side  in  their 
nerveless  fingers,  two  small  parties  in  the  state  had  policies 
of  their  own.  There  was  Cato  (it  is  difficult  to  find  a  party 
for  him  to  lead),  who  believed  that  by  repeating  the  mystic 
words  mos  maioritm  he  could  put  the  clock  back  to  the 
days  of  Cincinnatus,  if  not  of  Numa,  mistaking  symptoms 
for  diseases  and  hoping,  like  many  another  revivalist,  to  make 
people  virtuous  by  making  them  uncomfortable,  a  task 
doomed  to  failure  from  the  start. 

Over  against  these  were  set  a  party  who  may  almost  be 
termed  liberals,  in  that  they  were  prepared  to  go  forward 
hopefully  in  company  with  the  spirit  of  their  age.  Their 
foremost  representatives  were  the  Scipios,  who  acted  as 
patrons  to  many  of  the  literary  circle  we  have  just  described, 
and  were  themselves  eager  to  accept  the  new  culture.  Un- 
fortunately there  was  very  little  wisdom  or  foresight  among 
them,  and,  above  all,  there  was  an  aristocratic  pride  which 
would  have  rendered  them  impossible  as  leaders  even  if  they 
had  had  any  idea  of  a  destination.  As  a  family  the  Scipios 
were  by  no  means  uniformly  competent,  and  most  of  them 
subsisted  on  the  glamour  of  the  name,  which  itself  had  been 
very  largely  due  to  the  good  luck  and  opportunity  of  Scipio 
Africanus,  the  Elder  and  the  Younger. 

The  special  feature  which  distinguishes  the  age  which  we 
have  now  to  consider — that  is,  roughly,  the  hundred  years 
from  146  B.C.  onwards — is  that  the  historian's  attention  now 
begins  to  be  focussed  on  a  series  of  personal  biographies.  ^ 
One  might  almost  say  it  is  already  clear  that  some  individual 
must  dominate  this  ill-constructed  imperial  city,  and  the  only 
question  left  is  who  it  shall  be.  In  the  true  polity  of  the 
city-state  the  influence  of  personality  is  reduced  to  a  mini- 
mum, and  various  devices,  such  as  the  lot  at  Athens  or  the 
double  and  annual  consulship  at  Rome,  are  employed  to 
prevent  that  individual  predominance  which  so  easily  turns/ 
to  despotism.  It  is  not  due  so  much  to  envy  as  to  an  instinct 



of  self-preservation  that  republics  are  notoriously  ungrateful 
to  their  great  men.  But  personal  eminence,  if  it  is  dangerous 
to  the  liberty  of  a  republic,  is  almost  essential  to  the  govern- 
ment of  a  great  empire  and  the  control  of  huge  armies.  The 
incompetence  of  the  annual  generals,  now  that  warfare  was 
on  a  large  scale  and  conducted  far  from  the  overseeing  eye  of 
the  administration,  became  more  noticeable.  Already  in  the 
Third  Macedonian  War  it  had  been  disgracefully  apparent. 
Now  the  long  campaigns  against  Viriathus  in  Spain  and 
Jugurtha  in  Africa  reveal  pitiful  ineptitude,  coupled  with 
shameless  dishonesty,  in  the  republican  generals  of  the  aristo- 
cracy. Roman  armies  are  no  longer  invincible  in  the  field, 
they  are  not  even  disciplined. 


But  first  we  have  to  recall  a  futile  attempt  at  reform  of 
the  economic  distresses  of  the  imperial  city.  It  is  not  so 
much  the  actual  schemes  of  the  brothers  Gracchus  which 
interest  us — for  the  schemes  themselves  were  unworkable 
and  contained  kas  much  folly  as  wisdom — as  the  manner  in 
which  reform  was  proposed  and  defeated.  The  Gracchi 
themselves,  though  of  plebeian  origin,  belonged  by  numerous 
ties  to  the  liberal  aristocracy.  Their  famous  mother,  Cornelia 
— one  of  the  many  Roman  women  who  by  their  influence 
help  to  make  Roman  history  so  different  from  Greek — was 
the  daughter  of  Scipio  Africanus.  Tiberius,  the  elder 
brother,  was  married  to  a  Claudia ;  among  his  friends  were 
Scsevola  and  Crassus.  Thus  on  all  sides  he  belonged  to  the 
circle  of  progressive  nobles.  His  education  had  been  such 
as  one  would  expect  from  such  surroundings.  As  their  father 
had  died  at  an  early  age,  it  was  Cornelia's  task  to  make 
her  two  "jewels  "  worthy  of  her  glorious  name.  Accordingly 
she  employed  the  most  eminent  Greeks  for  their  tutors.  The 
boys  were  trained,  no  doubt,  in  Greek  oratory  to  declaim  in 
praise  of  liberty  and  tyrannicides,  in  Greek  history  and 
political  science  to  divide  constitutions  up  into  monarchies, 


aristocracies,  and  democracies,  and  to  believe  that  in  the 
latter  all  power  belongs  to  the  people.  At  the  same  time 
their  military  training  was  not  neglected  ;  in  horsemanship 
and  feats  of  arms  they  outshone  all  their  comrades.  Their 
prospects  were  in  every  way  brilliant  and  hopeful.  While 
still  a  youth  of  about  sixteen,  Tiberius  was  elected  augur. 
The  proud  aristocrat,  Apptus  Claudius,  as  it  is  related  by 
Plutarch,  offered  him  the  hand  of  his  daughter,  and,  having 
secured  it,  rushed  home  to  announce  her  betrothal.  As  soon 
as  his  wife  heard  of  it  she  exclaimed  :  "  Why  in  such  a  hurry 
unless  you  have  got  Tiberius  Gracchus  for  our  daughter  ?  " 
It  is  the  misfortune  of  rhetorical  history  that  all  its  good 
characters  appear  to  be  prigs  and  all  its  bad  ones  scoundrels  ; 
but  it  is  certain  that  if  Tiberius  had  been  content  with  the 
easy  road  to  fame  which  stretched  before  him  in  youth,  he 
might  without  trouble  have  had  the  world  at  his  feet.  He 
accompanied  his  brother-in-law,  the  younger  Africanus,  in 
the  last  expedition  against  Carthage.  In  camp  he  was  the 
most  distinguished  of  the  young  officers,  and  the  first  to  scale 
the  walls  of  the  city.  He  served  his  qusestorship  in  Spain, 
and  there  showed  all  the  diplomatic  skill  of  the  Cornelian 
family.  He  saved  an  army  of  20,000  men  from  destruction 
at  Numantia.  The  Spaniards  loved  him  no  less  for  his  name 
than  for  his  uprightness.  Thus  at  the  age  of  thirty-one  he 
had  his  future  assured.  A  brilliant  orator  with  distinguished 
public  service  behind  him,  he  was  obviously  destined  for  the 
consulship  in  the  near  future,  and  then  for  a  huge  province, 
for  wealth,  fame,  and  honour. 

Call  him  a  prig  and  a  doctrinaire,  if  you  will,  for  not  being 
content  with  that  prospect.  In  passing  through,  on  his  way 
to  Spain,  he  had  seen  the  pleasant  lands  of  Tuscany  lying 
forlorn  and  desolate,  chained  gangs  of  foreign  slaves  working 
in  the  fields  or  tending  the  flocks  of  absentee  Roman  land- 
lords, while  the  sturdy  peasants  who  should  have  been  in 
their  place  were  loafing  in  the  streets  of  Rome.  The  public 
land,  conquered  in  war,  had  sometimes  been  simply  embezzled 


by  Roman  politicians  ;  sometimes  granted  to  veteran  soldiers 
only  to  fall  into  the  hands  of  speculators.  The  old  Licinian 
land-law,  which  had  limited  the  amount  of  land  which  might 
be  held  in  one  hand,  was  openly  flouted,  and  leases  were 
treated  as  freeholds. 

Seeing  these  things,  the  young  man  was  filled  with  a 
passion  for  reform,  and  deliberately  devoted  his  life  to  that 
task.     The  modern  historians  who  call  him  prig  and  dema- 
gogue do  not  deny  the  awful  mischief  which  he  set  himself  to 
repair.     It  is  hard  to  know  what  he  should  have  done  to  please 
them.     The  senate,  by  now  an  entrenched  stronghold  of  pro- 
perty dishonestly  acquired  and  privilege  dishonestly  main- 
tained,   could   obviously  never   be   converted.     Filled   with 
Greek  ideas,  Tiberius  determined  to  appeal  to  the  demos. 
That  of  course  was  a  mistake.     There  was  no  such  thing  as 
a  demos  at  Rome,  and  there  never  had  been.     The  relation 
between  Senate  and  Comitia  was  not  in  the  least  the  same  as 
that  between  Council  and  Assembly  in  Greece.     At  Rome 
the  Senate  deliberated  and  the  Comitia  ratified ;  at  Athens 
the  Council  prepared  business  for  the  Assembly  to  discuss  and 
decide.    1 1  is  not  that  the  letter  of  the  constitution  really  matters 
— when  people  are  hungry  it  does  not — but  that  there  was 
lacking  at  Rome  the  very  elements  of  democracy,  an  articulate 
commons,  an  organised  will  of  the  people.     Failing  that,  any 
attempt  to  pose  as  champion  of  the  people  must  be  a  fraud, 
conscious  or  unconscious.     But  it  is  grossly  unfair  to  Gracchus 
to  suppose  that  it  was  conscious.     He  thought  that  he  was 
living  in  a  democracy,  he  thought  that  a  tribune  of  the  plebs 
might  fairly  claim  to  be  champion  of  the  people,  unaware  that 
the  plebs  was  now  an  anachronism,  and  the  tribunate  merely 
a  clumsy  brake  on  the  wheels  of  the  state.      In  133  B.C. 
Tiberius  had  himself  elected  as  one  of  the  ten  tribunes,  and 
immediately  prepared  to  introduce  the  millennium  by  legis- 
lative process. 

He  proposed  to  enforce  the  old  Licinian  laws  by  which 
no  individual  citizen  could  claim  a  large  holding  of  public 


land.  Then  presently,  in  his  childlike  ignorance  of  the 
tenacity  of  property,  annoyed  at  the  resistance  he  encountered, 
he  further  proposed  to  make  his  measure  retrospective,  so  as 
to  evict  thousands  of  noble  land-grabbers.  The  land  thus 
escheated  to  the  state  he  proposed  to  lease  on  nominal  terms 
as  small  holdings  to  the  poorer  citizens  of  Rome.  The  dis- 
tribution was  to  be  carried  out  by  a  commission  of  three. 
Very  unwisely,  but  probably  because  there  were  no  men  of 
standing  in  the  senate  whom  he  could  trust,  he  made  this 
commission  a  family  party  consisting  of  himself,  his  father-in- 
law,  and  his  young  brother.  Property  was  immediately  up  in 
arms  against  him.  The  liberal  senators  discovered,  as  even 
liberals  are  apt  to  do,  that  one's  own  property  has  a  sanctity 
far  superior  to  other  people's.  Accordingly,  they  took  the 
Roman  constitutional  method  of  putting  up  another  tribune 
to  veto  the  proposals  of  Tiberius.  Thereupon  Tiberius,  with 
his  fantastic  notions  of  the  people  and  the  people's  rights, 
declared  that  a  tribune  who  opposed  the  people  was  no 
tribune,  and  so  had  Octavius  deposed.  The  senate's  answer 
was  the  only  constitutional  answer  left  to  them,  a  threat  of 
prosecution  when  the  tribunate  should  be  over.  That,  of 
course,  made  it  necessary  for  Tiberius  to  perpetuate  his  office. 
He  gathered  a  band  of  followers  sworn  to  protect  his  life, 
proposed  a  string  of  attractive  measures  to  secure  popular 
support,  and  stood  for  a  second  term  of  office.  The  senate 
put  up  more  tribunes  to  veto  his  election.  Thus  the  state 
was  at  a  deadlock  ;  there  were  no  more  resources  for  such  a 
situation  within  constitutional  limits,  so  the  senators  simply 
girt  up  their  togas  and,  led  by  a  Scipio,  marched  down  into 
the  forum  to  settle  the  question  of  reform  in  a  truly  Roman 
manner.  Tiberius  Gracchus  was  murdered,  and  his  followers 
left  for  judicial  assassination. 

Ten  years  later  Gaius  Gracchus,  with  a  similar  programme 
and  the  added  motive  of  piety  to  his  brother's  memory,  took 
up  the  campaign  afresh.  The  senate,  indeed,  having  slain 
the  author  of  reform,  had  been  forced  to  allow  the  reforms 


themselves  at  any  rate  to  start.  Some  lands  had  been  redis- 
tributed, and  when  another  Scipio  got  a  decree  passed  to  stop 
the  work  of  the  land  commission,  he  too  was  assassinated. 
It  is  clear  that  by  this  time  the  agrarian  agitation  had  been 
largely  appeased ;  what  follows  is  political  merely.  The 
reformers  had  got  the  constitution  altered  to  permit  the  re- 
election of  tribunes,  and  in  123  Gaius  was  elected  to  that 
office ;  he  was  rather  more  practical,  and  therefore  far  more 
dangerous,  than  his  brother,  but  the  passion  for  vengeance 
against  the  stubborn  and  brutal  nobility  had  no  doubt  blinded 
his  judgment.  Coupled  with  the  land-agitation  there  was 
now  a  loud  demand  for  political  rights  by  the  Italians,  who 
were  debarred  even  from  the  elementary  rights  of  market  and 
marriage  with  each  other. 

The  platform  upon  which  Gaius  Gracchus  stood  was  a 
radical  one.  Henceforth  every  poor  citizen  was  to  be  supplied 
with  cheap  corn  at  less  than  half  price,  about  &,d.  a  bushel. 
The  land  commission  was  to  be  restored.  The  Assembly  was 
to  be  reorganised  upon  a  new  basis,  which  would  destroy  the 
preponderant  voting  power  of  the  nobility.  New  colonies 
were  to  be  founded,  including  one  at  Carthage — a  most 
salutary  measure.  Easier  terms  of  military  service  were  to 
be  granted,  including  free  equipment  and  the  right  of  appeal. 
By  these  measures,  some  of  them  wise  and  just,  some  of  them 
mere  vote-catching  devices,  Gaius  won  the  support  of  the 
people.  Then  he  turned  to  the  second  estate — the  capitalist 
Equites.  To  buy  their  favour  he  took  up  their  demand  that 
the  taxes  of  "  Asia,"  as  the  Romans  called  their  new  province 
bequeathed  to  them  by  King  Attalus  III.,  should  be  put  up 
for  auction  not  locally  but  in  Rome.  It  seemed  to  the  Romans 
that  since  the  Asiatics  were  bound  to  be  plundered  in  any  case, 
as  indeed  the  inhabitants  of  Asia  Minor  always  had  and 
always  have  been  plundered,  the  proceeds  might  as  well  flow 
straight  into  the  pockets  of  Roman  capitalists.  To  this  he 
added  the  proposition  that  the  jury-lists  should  henceforth  be 
drawn  from  the  Equestrian  order  and  the  senators  excluded. 



FIG.    2.       ROMAN   LEGIONARY  OF  THE 


It  was  probably  more  iniquitous  that  money-lenders  and 
governors  should  be  tried  by  a  jury  of  money-lenders  exclu- 
sively than  that  they  should  come  before  a  jury  of  governors 
past  and  future.  Neither  would  seem  to  us  or  to  the  pro- 
vincials an  ideal  arrangement. 

Much  of  this  policy,  we  have  to  admit,  was  pure  demagogy, 
but  for  that  the  conservative  nobles,  who  cared  nothing  for  the 
welfare  of  the  state,  and  were  impervious  to  anything  but  force, 
are  directly  responsible.  Gracchus  got  his  measures  through 
the  comitia,  and  secured  his  re-election  for  the  next  year. 
Feeling  that  his  policy  had  secured  him  a  large  and  faithful 
party  of  supporters,  he  now  prepared  to  introduce  a  measure 
which  he  knew  to  be  necessary  for  the  salvation  of  his  country, 
but  which  he  must  equally  well  have  known  to  be  unpopular 
at  Rome,  namely,  the  grant  of  citizen  rights  to  the  Italians. 
By  this  we  see  that  Gaius  Gracchus,  if  he  sometimes  stooped 
to  the  arts  of  the  demagogue,  was  also  capable  of  real 
statesmanship.  The  progressive  grant  of  burgess  rights  as 
soon  as  subject  peoples  were  sufficiently  Romanised  to  be  fit  for 
them  was  the  old  Roman  policy,  which  had  made  the  city  great 
in  the  past,  and  kept  her  safe  in  the  shock  of  invasion.  But 
the  Romans  had  now  become  jealous  and  exclusive.  The 
proposal  was  detested  in  Rome.  Each  side  organised  its 
gangs  of  roughs ;  there  were  daily  riots  in  the  streets,  and  at 
last  the  senatorial  party  once  more  charged  down  into  the 
forum  and  slaughtered  the  second  reformer  as  they  had 
slaughtered  the  first.  In  the  prosecutions  that  followed  no 
fewer  than  3000  of  his  partisans  were  executed. 

In  all  this  it  is  evident  that  the  Roman  political  system  had  < 
completely  broken  down.  The  constitution  had  always  been 
incredibly  ill-defined.  There  is  no  doubt  that  sovereignty 
legally  belonged  to  the  people,  and  that  senatorial  government 
was  a  usurpation,  as  the  Gracchi  called  it.  By  calling  the 
citizen  body  of  Rome  a  mob  or  a  rabble  you  do  not  alter  the 
rights  of  the  case.  It  was  largely  the  fault  of  the  Government 
that  they  had  been  allowed  to  become  so  selfish,  so  disorderly, 



and  so  corrupt.  The  extraordinary  machinery  of  the  tri- 
bunate —  ten  magistrates,  each  with  an  absolute  veto  upon  all 
government  —  had  made  it  impossible  to  find  any  constitutional 
method  'of  reform.  The  policy  of  Gaius  Gracchus  was  the  only 
possible  one  if  Rome  was  to  be  saved,  and  as  a  matter  of  plain 
fact  it  was  the  policy  which  after  a  century  of  unceasing  blood- 
shed Rome  eventually  adopted.  It  was  to  be  a  disguised 
monarchy,  like  that  of  Pericles  at  Athens,  working  on  the 
basis  of  the  tribunician  powers.  The  old  ascendancy  of  the 
Senate  could  not  stand  a  challenge  ;  not  only  did  it  rest  upon 
no  legal  title,  but  it  had  lost  whatever  claim  to  respect  it  ever 
possessed  on  the  score  of  patriotism  or  statesmanship.  For 
the  agrarian  problem  it  had  no  policy  but  to  hold  fast  to  its  ill- 
gotten  lands  ;  to  the  demands  of  the  Italian  allies  it  had  nothing 
but  a  miserly  "no."  It  watched  with  indifference  the  ruin  of 
Italy,  the  degeneracy  of  Rome,  and  the  oppression  of  the  pro- 
vincial world.  The  policy  of  the  Gracchi  may  have  included 
dreams  and  nightmares,  but  it  did  look  forward  and  hold  out 
hopes.  The  Gracchi  had  now  definitely  started  a  party  system. 
They  had  laid  the  foundation  of  a  democratic  movement,  and 
it  is  Rome's  misfortune  that  this  foundation  was  built  of  such 
rotten  materials.  The  democracy  had  been  bought  by  bribes, 
but  it  had  failed  to  exhibit  a  spark  of  disinterested  statesman- 
ship. If  ever  a  state  needed  a  master  that  state  was  Rome. 
Henceforth  until  a  master  came  the  condition  of  Rome  and 
Italy  and  the  provinces  was  simply  deplorable.  Nothing  could 
be  done  in  politics  without  a  hired  gang  of  bravos. 

The  next  conspicuous  attempt  at  reform  comes  from  a 
genuine  son  of  the  people,  one  of  the  very  few  peasants  who 
emerge  into  the  light  of  history  at  Rome.  In  the  wretchedly 
mismanaged  Jugurthan  war  Gaius  Marius  had  shouldered  his 
way  to  the  front  by  sheer  courage  and  capacity  for  war  through 
a  crowd  of  cowardly  and  incompetent  aristocrats,  who  almost 
openly  trafficked  with  the  foreign  enemy  of  Rome,  The 


course  of  this  business  requires  a  brief  sketch  if  we  are  to 
understand  the  condition  of  Roman  government  at  this 

The  king  of  the  client  state  of  Numidia  dying  divided  his 
realm  between  two  legitimate  sons  and  one  illegitimate,  the 
latter  being  Jugurtha.  This  amiable  bastard  straightway 
murdered  one  of  his  brothers  and  attacked  the  other,  who  fled 
to  the  Roman  province  and  appealed  to  the  senate  for  pro- 
tection. Jugurtha,  already  knowing  the  ropes  of  senatorial 
policy,  sent  envoys  with  well-filled  purses,  and  easily  con- 
vinced the  senate  of  his  innocence  and  good  intentions.  The 
senate  decided  to  send  out  a  commission  to  divide  the  kingdom 
equitably  between  Jugurtha  and  his  half-brother.  The  result 
of  its  labours  was  that  Adherbal  got  the  desert  and  the  capital, 
while  Jugurtha  got  all  the  fertile  part  of  the  country,  and  the 
commission  returned  home  rich  and  happy.  Jugurtha  had 
now  only  to  obtain  the  capital,  but  as  Adherbal  refused  to 
fight  and  kept  appealing  to  Rome,  there  was  nothing  for  it  but 
to  besiege  Cirta.  Numerous  envoys  came  to  Jugurtha  from 
the  senate  in  the  course  of  the  siege,  but  he  easily  assured 
them  of  his  pacific  intentions.  As  soon  as  he  had  taken  the 
city  he  put  his  rival  to  death  with  torture,  and  massacred  the 
entire  male  population,  including  a  great  number  of  Italian 
and  Roman  citizens. 

The  senate  did  not  feel  that  this  course  of  action  was 
entirely  meritorious,  but  it  required  the  stimulus  of  a  demo- 
cratic agitation  and  another  troublesome  tribune  to  induce 
them  to  declare  war.  The  senate  sent  out  two  of  its  best  men 
in  Bestia  and  Scaurus  ;  the  latter  especially  was  generally 
reputed  to  be  a  veritable  Aristides,  for  he  had  ventured  to 
protest  against  the  former  iniquities.  When  the  Roman  army 
arrived,  Jugurtha  knew  better  ways  than  fighting.  He  sub- 
mitted at  discretion,  surrendered  the  Roman  deserters,  whom 
of  course  he  did  not  want  to  keep,  and  a  few  elephants,  which 
he  soon  afterwards  repurchased  privately.  In  return  he  was 
permitted  to  retain  his  kingdom.  Once  more  there  were 


outcries  at  Rome,  voiced  by  the  same  democratic  tribune 
Memmius,  who  insisted  that  Jugurtha  should  be  summoned  to 
Rome  to  answer  for  his  sins.  Meekly  but  with  bulging  money- 
bags Jugurtha  arrived.  As  soon  as  Memmius  began  to  cross- 
examine  him  another  tribune  interposed  his  veto.  During 
his  visit  Jugurtha  was  able  to  purchase  a  strong  party  in  the 
senate ;  he  also  had  time  to  procure  the  assassination  of  an 
obnoxious  fellow-countryman  in  the  city  itself.  This  outrage, 
combined  with  the  ambition  of  the  new  consul,  Spurius 
Albinus,  led  to  another  declaration  of  war,  Jugurtha  himself 
being  allowed  to  go  home  and  prepare  for  it.  As  he  departed 
he  uttered  the  famous  words,  "  Ah,  Rome !  Venal  city !  She 
would  sell  herself  if  she  could  find  a  purchaser." 

When  Albinus  led  out  the  second  army,  he  found  it 
utterly  incapable  of  fighting.  It  was  a  band  of  cowardly 
brigands,  who  spent  their  time  in  plundering  their  own  pro- 
vince ;  and  when  the  consul's  brother  conceived  the  spirited 
project  of  seizing  the  king's  treasury  for  himself,  instead  of 
waiting  for  the  more  tedious  and  uncertain  profits  of  bribery,  he 
led  the  Roman  army  into  an  ambush.  It  surrendered  readily. 
It  was  forced  to  go  under  the  yoke,  and  agree  to  evacuate  all 

This  was  a  little  too  much.  Another  tribune — in  all 
this  period  we  observe  the  tribunes  acting  as  the  heads  of 
popular  opposition  quite  in  the  Gracchan  manner — proposed 
a  special  inquiry  to  investigate  the  matter,  and  bring  the 
offenders  to  justice.  Three  of  the  worst — Spurius  Albinus, 
Bestia,  and  L.  Opimius,  the  destroyer  of  G.  Gracchus — were 
banished,  but  the  incorruptible  Scaurus  escaped  condemnation 
by  sitting  on  the  bench.  The  treaty  of  peace  was  cancelled, 
and  its  author — following  the  usual  Roman  custom  when 
armies  in  awkward  places  surrendered — was  given  up  to  the 

In  the  third  campaign  the  senate  really  tried  to  do  its  best. 
Q.  Metellus,  the  new  general,  belonged  to  the  party  of  liberal 
nobles  who  were  in  favour  of  moderate  reform.  He  began 


well  by  choosing  his  officers  for  military  skill — somewhat  of 
an  innovation.  Among  others  he  chose  a  brave  young  farmer, 
G.  Marius.  Arrived  in  Africa,  Metellus  had  first  to  reduce 
the  Roman  army  to  order,  and  then,  having  failed  to  get  his 
enemy  assassinated,  marched  out  to  fight  him.  Jugurtha  was 
beaten  in  battle  (for  the  Roman  army  could  still  fight  under 
decent  leadership),  and  henceforth  was  driven  to  guerilla  war- 
fare, in  which  he  displayed  such  remarkable  skill  that  the  war 
soon  came  to  a  standstill. 

At  this  point  G.  Marius,  who  had  achieved  popularity  and 
renown  through  his  valour,  conceived  the  ambitious  plan  of 
standing  for  the  consulship.  It  is  hard  to  guess  how  such  an 
audacious  idea  can  have  entered  his  head,  for  such  an  applica- 
tion from  a  man  of  no  family  was  entirely  without  precedent. 
Somebody  at  Rome  must  have  whispered  the  idea.  When 
he  asked  his  consul  for  permission  to  go  to  Rome  for  the  pur- 
pose, Metellus  was  vastly  diverted,  and  suggested  that  Marius 
had  better  wait  until  his  general's  little  boy  was  grown  up,  in 
order  that  he  might  have  a  Metellus  for  a  colleague.  Probably 
Marius  had  little  sense  of  humour,  for  he  did  go  to  Rome, 
just  in  time,  and  was  elected  consul.  Moreover,  a  special 
decree  entrusted  him  with  command  of  the  army  in  Africa. 

Among  his  officers  was  the  young  legate,  L.  Cornelius 
Sulla,  and  though  Marius  undoubtedly  displayed  vigour  and 
competence,  it  was  very  largely  the  luck  and  diplomacy  of 
Sulla  which  procured  the  seizure  and  surrender  of  the  Numidian 
king.  Marius,  however,  reaped  the  glory.  Jugurtha  graced 
his  triumph  (104  B.C.),  and  soon  afterwards  perished  in  a 
Roman  dungeon. 

Simultaneously  with  the  Jugurthan  war  the  Romans  were 
called  upon  to  face  a  far  more  serious  affair,  one  of  those  great 
folk-wanderings  from  the  north  which  occur  periodically  in 
the  course  of  Mediterranean  history.  The  Cimbri  and  Teutons, 
who  may  have  numbered  ancestors  of  our  own  among  them, 
came  down  from  the  shores  of  the  Baltic,  travelling  with  their 
households  in  a  train  of  waggons  which  took  six  days  in 



defiling  past  the  onlooker.  These  barbarians  were  terrible  to 
the  Romans,  with  their  strange  aspect,  their  long  iron  swords 
and  savage  war-cries,  their  fair  hair  and  giant  stature.  But 
of  course  they  were  savages  compared  to  the  Romans,  and 
they  should  never  have  inflicted  more  than  one  defeat  on 
intelligent  generals  of  disciplined  armies.  As  it  was,  they  had 
to  face  mutinous  legions  and  incompetent  consuls.  First  they 
defeated  Carbo  and  overran  Gaul ;  then  coming  south  into  the 
province  they  beat  Silanus  and  Scaurus ;  and  then,  united 
with  the  Helvetians,  they  inflicted  a  frightful  disaster  on 
Longinus,  when  a  Roman  legate  had  to  surrender,  and  another 
Roman  army  was  sent  under  the  yoke.  In  105  a  worse  thing 
happened :  the  great  defeat  of  Arausio  (Orange)  seemed  more 
fatal  even  than  Cannae  in  the  extent  of  its  losses.  Therewas 
a  panic  in  Italy,  which  seemed  helplessly  exposed  to  the  fury 
of  the  northmen,  but  fortunately  the  aimless  barbarians 
wandered  off  into  the  west  and  spent  their  strength  on  the 
warlike  Spanish  tribes. 

As  before,  popular  indignation  at  Rome,  diverted  from  the 
real  cause  of  the  mischief,  the  rotten  system  of  cliques  which 
governed  them,  wasted  its  fury  on  individuals.  Senators  were 
mobbed  and  stoned.  A  proconsul  was  actually  deposed  from 
office.  There  was  only  one  man  deemed  capable  of  dealing 
with  the  peril — Marius,  the  man  of  the  people,  the  triumphant 
conqueror  of  Jugurtha.  So,  despite  laws  forbidding  re-election, 

•4  Marius  became  consul  for  a  second  time  and  a  third — five  times 
consul.  This  was  symptomatic  of  a  changed  Rome.  It  was, 
however,  necessary.  Amateur  generals  had  had  a  long  trial. 
From  104  to  100  Marius  was  continuously  chief  magistrate  of 
the  state,  as  well  as  generalissimo  of  its  armies.  He  did  his 
work.  First  he  had  to  get  his  army  in  hand,  and  accustom 
them  to  the  sight  of  the  terrible  barbarians.  Then  he 
dealt  two  smashing  blows  at  the  Teutons  and  Cimbri  near 
Aqus  Sextis  and  on  the  Raudine  Plain.  It  was  the  mis- 
fortune of  the  Roman  system  of  imperium  that  no  general  could 

x  attain  to  eminence  in  war  without  at  the  same  time  acquiring 


political  importance.  Hence  Marius  in  100  B.C.  found  himself 
absolutely  first  in  the  Roman  state  without  education  or  even 
common  sense  in  politics.  He  presents  a  pathetic  figure  in  the 
turbulent  world  of  Roman  statecraft,  a  war-scarred  veteran,  the 
indubitable  saviour  of  Rome,  called  upon  to  play  the  part  of  a 
statesman,  and  yet  a  mere  puppet  in  the  hands  of  unscrupulous 
intriguers.  First  he  fell  into  the  hands  of  two  shameless 
demagogues — Saturninus  and  Glaucia — who  used  him  to 
revive  the  Gracchan  revolution.  Marius  became  consul  for 
the  sixth  time,  and  a  new  reform  programme  was  drawn  up, 
including  an  agrarian  law  to  divide  the  land  conquered  from 
the  Cimbri,  and  incidentally  all  the  land  they  had  conquered, 
into  small  holdings  for  the  Marian  veterans,  Latins  and 
Italians  alike.  Marius  was  to  have  personal  charge  of  the 
distribution,  and  this  task  would  make  him  master  of  Rome  for 
many  years  to  come.  Secondly,  there  was  to  be  a  still  further 
cheapening  of  corn ;  and,  thirdly,  new  colonies  were  to  be 
founded  and  the  Italian  allies  to  have  a  share  in  them.  Of 
course  there  was  violent  opposition.  The  senate  tried  all  its 
old  stratagems,  tribunician  veto,  portents,  and  lastly  bludgeons. 
To  meet  the  latter,  Marius  whistled  his  veteran  soldiers  to  his 
side,  and  the  "  Appuleian  Laws "  were  carried,  with  the 
addition  of  a  very  obnoxious  clause  that  each  senator  was  to 
take  an  oath  of  allegiance  to  the  new  legislation  within  five  days 
on  pain  of  forfeiting  his  seat.  Q.  Metellus  alone  had  the 
courage  to  prefer  exile. 

Then,  it  seems,  the  senate  found  it  necessary  to  beguile 
the  great  general  over  to  the  side  of  aristocracy.  Marius  was 
a  child  in  their  hands.  He  actually  boggled  at  taking  the  oath 
to  his  own  laws,  and  added  the  remarkable  proviso,  "So  far  as 
they  are  valid."  Saturninus  and  Glaucia  in  their  turn  tried 
violence,  and  Marius  led  the  forces  of  the  senate  against  them. 
There  was  a  battle  in  the  forum,  the  demagogues  were  slain, 
and  four  magistrates  of  the  Roman  people  put  to  death  with- 
out trial.  Once  more  reaction  had  triumphed.  For  the  time 
being  Marius  was  politically  defunct. 



But  one  side  of  his  work  was  lasting-  and  fraught  with 
momentous  consequences  for  the  Roman  state.  It  was  Marius, 

4  the  first  professional  general,  who  formed  the  first  professional 
army.  We  noticed  that  Greece,  even  before  the  end  of  the  fifth 
century,  had  already  begun  to  use  paid  and  trained  soldiers, 
partly  owing  to  the  unwillingness  of  her  comfortable  or  busy 
citizens  to  engage  in  annual  campaigns,  but  still  more  because 
it  was  found  that  the  more  highly  trained  and  better  disciplined 
mercenaries  were  far  more  efficient  at  their  business.  So  for 
many  centuries  Rome  had  now  been  the  only  power  in  the 
Mediterranean  world  to  rely  upon  a  citizen  militia.  That 
citizen  militia  had  indeed  conquered  the  world ;  but  certainly 
in  dealing  with  the  trained  troops  of  Pyrrhus  and  Hannibal, 
the  Roman  forces  had  always  begun  with  disaster  and  slowly 
been  schooled  to  their  trade  by  defeat.  So  it  was  now  in  the 
Jugurthan  and  Cimbric  wars:  the  generals  had  to  train  their 
armies  in  the  face  of  the  enemy,  and  while  that  is  no  doubt 
the  best  training  ground  it  is  terribly  dangerous  and  expensive. 
It  implies,  too,  an  almost  inexhaustible  stock  of  recruits  to 

.  fall  back  upon.  With  the  decline  of  Italian  agriculture  and 
the  growth  of  city  life  the  stock  of  recruits  was  no  longer 
inexhaustible.  Moreover  the  art  of  war  was  becoming  more 
intricate.  Rome  found  it  necessary  to  appoint  a  genuine 
soldier  for  her  general  against  Jugurtha  in  view  of  the 
disastrous  failures  of  aristocratic  amateurs.  In  the  same  way 
Marius  found  it  necessary  to  overhaul  the  Roman  fighting 
machine,  and  by  the  end  of  his  five  years  of  successive 
consulship  he  had  organised  a  professional  army  on  much  the 
same  system  as  our  own.  Rome  like  England  required  a 
highly  trained  expeditionary  force  and  behind  it  a  large 
reserve.  The  principal  change  instituted  by  Marius  seemed 
at  first  a  small  one  and  required  no  legislative  sanction. 
Hitherto  the  army  had  consisted  only  of  the  propertied  classes, 
the  infantry  of  those  who  could  afford  a  suit  of  arms,  and  the 
cavalry  of  the  richest  citizens  who  could  maintain  one  of  the 
state  horses.  The  minimum  property  for  a  Roman  soldier 


is  said  to  have  been  £115.  The  poorest  had  originally  formed 
a  light-armed  support,  the  three  middle  classes  were  the  line, 
and  the  richest  the  cavalry.  But  the  three  classes  of  the 
line  had  by  now  come  to  be  drawn  up  not  according  to 
property  but  according  to  length  of  service.  This  was  the 
traditional  battle  formation  of  the  Roman  infantry  maniples  : 

Triarii  |  |  |  |  I  I  I  I  I  I 

.         — .    i  .  .  i  i  i  •    i   >  i   •  •     •    '"• 


with  the  cavalry  upon  the  wings.  But  social  changes  were 
changing  the  army.  As  wealth  increased  and  the  gulf 
between  rich  and  poor  grew  wider  the  comfortable  burgesses 
were  no  longer  obedient  or  willing  soldiers.  Bad  discipline 
— a  monstrous  violation  of  the  old  Roman  spirit — had  begun 
to  appear  in  the  ranks  as  early  as  the  Macedonian  wars.  In 
the  Jugurthan  wars  it  was  deplorably  rife.  The  equestrian 
class  as  the  richest  was  also  the  most  mutinous  :  as  early  as 
the  third  century  the  knights  had  refused  to  work  in  the 
trenches  alongside  of  the  legionaries.  By  140  B.C.  they  had  N 
ceased  to  act  as  a  military  force  and  become  merely  a  grade 
of  honour,  or  rather  of  income,  in  the  state,  though  the  younger 
knights  continued  to  form  a  corps  of  noble  guards  to  the 
general.  As  for  the  army  as  a  whole,  the  theory  down  to  the  x"" 
time  of  Marius  was  still  that  of  the  annual  spring  campaign  ; 
each  consul  levied  his  own  army  for  a  specific  purpose. 
This  levy  had  become  more  and  more  difficult.  The  simple 
innovation  which  Marius  introduced  was  that  in  the  process 
of  holding  his  levy  he  began  by  asking  for  volunteers  and 
enrolling  those  first.  There  was  generally  a  distinct  promise 
of  rewards  on  discharge.  Thus  instead  of  the  moneyed 
classes  Marius  filled  his  ranks  with  the  poorest  and  hardiest 
inhabitants  of  Rome  and  Italy.  Of  course  the  obligation  to 
serve  still  remained  part  of  the  condition  of  certain  subject 

G  97 


peoples.  The  auxiliary  ranks  were  now  supplied  by  foreign 
experts — cavalry  from  the  Numidian  deserts  or  the  Ligurian 
hills,  slingers  from  the  Balearic  Islands,  and  presently  archers 
from  Crete.  Having  thus  professionalised  his  army  Marius 
proceeded  to  abolish  all  distinctions  in  the  ranks.  All  the 
men  of  the  line  now  had  a  uniform  equipment  supplied  by 
the  state,  and  instead  of  a  bewildering  variety  of  insignia 
all  the  legionaries  now  fought  under  that  emblem  destined 
to  be  carried  in  victory  to  the  four  corners  of  Europe — the 
silver  eagle.  The  eagle  was  the  standard  of  the  legion  and 
it  was  regarded  as  sacred.  In  camp  it  rested  in  a  special 
shrine  and  terrible  was  the  disgrace  attaching  to  its  loss  in 
battle.  Hitherto  legions  had  been  gathered  for  each  campaign 
and  disbanded  at  its  close.  Now  a  legion  had  a  permanent 
existence,  a  fixed  number,  a  tradition  and  an  esprit  de  corps 
of  its  own.  It  was  now  a  larger  unit  of  6000  men  ;  for  while 
the  maniple  or  company  of  120  men  still  remained,  the 
maniples  were  grouped  into  cohorts  or  battalions,  which  now 
became  the  regular  tactical  unit,  and  ten  cohorts  formed  the 

Beside  the  body-armour  consisting  of  helmet,  cuirass,  and 
cylindrical  shield,*  the  uniform  equipment  of  the  legionary 
included  the  pilum,  a  short  heavy  javelin  for  throwing  (it 
is  interesting  to  notice  that  whereas  Marius  had  the  point 
loosely  attached  to  the  shaft  so  as  to  break  off  in  the  shield 
or  body  of  the  enemy,  Julius  Csesar  actually  invented  what 
may  fairly  be  called  a  "  Dum-Dum  pilum  "  with  a  soft  nose 
for  stopping  the  rush  of  barbarians),  and  the  short  broad- 
bladed  sword  f  which  had  been  copied  from  the  Spanish 
swordsmen  in  the  Second  Punic  War.  The  latter  was  a  very 
handy  little  weapon  only  about  thirty  inches  long  including 
the  hilt,  with  two  edges  as  well  as  a  point,  though  the  thrust 
was  always  advocated  in  preference  to  the  cut.  Marius  now 
introduced  a  new  drill  which  included  lessons  in  fencing  given 
in  the  first  instance  by  masters  from  the  gladiatorial  schools. 
*  Plate  12,  I  Plate  13, 

•7     O 



Though  bloodshed  be  abhorrent  to  the  learned,  many  a  scholar 
would  like  to  have  witnessed  the  combat  between  the  Roman 
gladius  and  the  Cimbrian  claymore.  It  must  be  repeated 
that  the  Roman  maniple,  unlike  the  close  Greek  phalanx, 
stood  in  open  order  with  a  six-foot  square  of  space  for  each 
man  so  that  there  was  room  for  individual  prowess  in  swords- 
manship. Lastly,  Marius  still  further  professionalised  his 
army  by  introducing  a  system  of  bounties  on  discharge  which 
made  the  army  a  really  attractive  career  for  poor  citizens. 
He  promised  them  each  a  farm  at  the  end  of  the  war  and 
his  example  was  followed  by  other  generals.  In  fact  a 
veteran  soldier  came  to  expect  a  handsome  pension  on 

It  is  surely  unnecessary  to  emphasise  the  meaning  of  all 
this.  An  army  was  now  a  trained  corps  against  which  no 
levy  of  recruits  could  stand  for  an  instant.  Hitherto  it  had 
been  the  chief  guarantee  against  usurpation  by  a  general  that 
new  armies  could  be  summoned  from  the  soil  at  any  time. 
Now  there  was  a  weapon  in  the  hands  of  a  successful  general 
against  which  the  feeble  safeguards  of  the  republican  consti- 
tution were  powerless.  As  with  the  first  trained  army  in 
English  history,  the  general  of  such  a  force  became  master 
of  the  destinies  of  the  state  so  long  as  the  allegiance  of  the 
soldiers  was  personal  rather  than  patriotic.  The  Roman 
soldier's  allegiance  had  always  been  personal  and  now  it 
became  more  so.  Moreover  the  Roman  constitution  had 
never  sought  to  distinguish  military  from  civil  power.  Hence 
that  day  in  100  B.C.,  when  the  Appuleian  code  was  carried 
under  threat  of  the  legions  of  Marius,  was  of  evil  omen  for 
the  constitution.  Less  than  twenty  years  were  to  elapse 
before  a  Roman  army  entered  Rome  in  triumph  to  support 
the  political  enactments  of  Sulla.  It  is  in  reality  hence- 
forward one  long  state  of  civil  war,  open  or  concealed,  between 
rival  generals,  until  at  last  a  permanent  military  monarchy  was 
established.  It  only  required  a  bold  free  spirit  like  that  of 
Julius  Caesar  to  discern  the  real  facts  of  the  case.  Marius, 



as  we  have  already  seen,  had  not  sufficient  intellect  to  play 
a  political  part  with  success  ;  Sulla  attained  what  was 
really  a  monarchical  position  but  retired  when  he  had  won 
it.  Pompeius  never  had  the  courage  to  face  the  situation. 
Caesar  had,  but  he  was  sacrificed  to  the  republican  tradition. 
Finally  the  diplomatic  Augustus  realised  the  long  inevitable 

Henceforth,  then,  it  is  merely  a  question  of  who  shall  be 
Emperor  of  Rome.  The  causes  of  the  end  of  Rome's  in- 
coherent constitutional  system,  called  by  us  a  Republic,  are 
already  clear.  There  are  the  constitutional  causes — above  all 
the  inelasticity  of  the  Roman  system,  which  made  legitimate 
reform  impossible,  provided  no  machinery  to  express  the  will 
of  the  people,  and  rendered  it  inevitable  that  rioting  should 
accompany  every  change.  It  was  a  constitution  essentially 
municipal  and  the  tribunate  was  the  centre  of  mischief.  Then 
there  are  the  economic  causes,  now  working  more  banefully 
than  ever,  and  causing  the  decay  of  the  agricultural  population, 
the  rise  of  a  dangerous  uneducated  city  proletariat,  and  the 
corruption  of  the  governing  aristocracy.  There  was  the  poli- 
tical fact  that  the  government  of  a  vast  ill-organised  empire 
destroyed  the  Republican  spirit  and  further  increased  corrup- 
tion, while  it  denationalised  the  Roman  temper.  Lastly,  there 
is  the  military  cause,  namely,  the  professionalisation  of  the 
army,  putting  excessive  power  into  the  hands  of  the  general 
and  replacing  patriotism  by  esprit  de  corps. 

It  strikes  the  onlooker  that  no  one  of  these  evils,  nor  even 
the  accumulation  of  them,  need  have  been  fatal  to  the  republi- 
can system  if  there  had  been  a  genuine  spirit  of  patriotic 
enthusiasm  determined  to  overcome  them.  For  instance,  if 
the  great  men  of  Rome  had  been  loyal  and  patriotic  there  is 
no  reason  why  the  excessive  power  of  the  generals  should  have 
led  to  high  treason.  And  again,  though  the  provincial  system 
was  misbegotten  it  might  have  been  corrected  and  reformed. 
But  it  was  the  spirit  that  failed.  Was  not  that  just  because 
'  Roman  power  had  outstripped  Roman  civilisation  ?  For  the 


upper-class  Roman,  faith  was  dead  or  dying,  and  there  were  no 
high  interests  of  the  mind  to  replace  it.  Fighting  was  their 
sole  inherited  interest  and  their  tastes  were  correspondingly 
brutal  and  bloody.  The  last  agony  of  the  Republic  in  the 
period  we  are  now  considering  is  painful  enough,  but  the  wise 
will  surely  regard  it  as  the  period  in  which  a  new  and  much 
more  hopeful  order  of  things  was  gradually  evolved. 


On  the  extinction  of  Marius  there  arose  Sulla.  Sulla  was 
the  aristocrat  of  talent,  almost  of  genius,  who  tried  to  save  the 
state  by  reaction.  He  tried,  vainly  and  foolishly  enough,  to 
bolster  up  the  rickety  structure  of  senatorial  ascendancy,  but 
had  not  the  patience  or  the  wisdom  to  attempt  even  that  with 
any  thoroughness.  L.  Cornelius  Sulla  was  of  the  class  of  men 
to  which  Alcibiades  and  Alexander  belong,  but  an  inferior 
specimen  of  the  class.  Though  of  noble  birth  he  had  risen 
from  poverty  and  obscurity  by  his  own  talents.  He  was  clever 
— and  he  did  the  most  foolish  acts  in  history.  He  was  hand- 
some— and  his  face  in  later  life  is  described  as  "a  mulberry 
speckled  with  meal."  He  was  brave  and  successful  in  war ; 
half  lion  and  half  fox,  they  said,  and  the  fox  was  the  more 
dangerous  of  the  two.  He  secured  the  affections  of  his  soldiers 
by  giving  them  free  licence  to  plunder  or  to  murder  unpopular 
officers.  He  was  a  rake  and  a  gambler,  reckless  of  bloodshed 
as  he  was  careless  of  praise  or  blame,  and  he  had  that  fatal 
belief  in  a  star  which  has  led  better  men  than  him  to  follow 
will-o'-the-wisps.  He  might  have  stood  where  Caesar  stands. 
He  would  have  made  a  very  typical  bad  emperor,  and  whatever 
it  was  that  made  him  decline  to  be  one,  it  was  not  patriotism. 
He  was  as  cultured  as  Nero,  and  showed  it  by  sacking  Athens, 
plundering  Delphi,  and  looting  a  famous  library.  Like  Nero, 
but  unlike  the  majority  of  his  fellow-countrymen,  he  had  a 
sense  of  humour. 

After  the  shelving  of  Marius  and  the  destruction  of  his 
democratic  associates  the  governing  clique  pursued  its  old 



course  of  headlong  folly.  For  one  thing  the  aristocrats  soon 
fell  out  with  the  capitalists,  which  is  always  an  unwise  thing 
for  aristocrats  to  do.  The  equestrian  jury-courts  established 
by  Gracchus  acted  with  brutal  simplicity  on  behalf  of  their  tax- 
gathering  and  tax-farming  brothers  against  whatever  honest 
governors  proceeded  from  the  senate.  Men  were  condemned 
for  honest  administration  in  those  days.  For  another  thing 
the  bitter  cry  of  the  Italian  "  allies,"  who  bore  all  the  hard 
knocks  of  the  Roman  service,  and  in  return  got  nothing  but 
servitude,  was  persistently  and  contemptuously  ignored.  In 
95  a  consular  law  flatly  prohibited  them  from  ever  claiming 
the  franchise.  But  presently  there  came  forward  a  new  re- 
former in  M.  Livius  Drusus.  This  remarkable  man  might  be 
described  as  a  third  Gracchus,  only  that  he  saw  the  futility  of 
the  so-called  democracy  of  Rome,  and  adopted  other  means  to 
attain  his  ends.  On  the  one  hand  he  was  a  champion  of  the 
senate  against  the  knights,  and  on  the  other  hand  he  was 
resolved  to  give  the  Italians  their  rights.  He  seems  to  have 
promoted  a  widespread  secret  organisation  among  the  Italians. 
He  then  proposed  four  measures :  the  inevitable  vote-catching 
corn  law  and  agrarian  law,  the  jury-courts  to  be  restored  to 
the  senate,  the  senate  for  that  purpose  to  be  enlarged  by  the 
inclusion  of  three  hundred  knights,  and,  lastly,  citizenship  for  the 
allies.  The  first  three  were  carried,  not  without  violence,  but  the 
fourth  was  his  stumbling-block.  The  Italians  were  by  now  so 
clamorous  that  civil  war  was  inevitable  if  it  were  refused,  and 
no  man  denied  the  justice  of  their  claim.  But  neither  justice 
nor  expediency  had  any  power  to  move  the  dead  weight  of 
senatorial  conservatism.  Drusus  was  murdered  and  his  laws 
repealed.  That  was  the  signal  for  the  long  and  terrible  Social 
War  which  completed  the  ruin  of  Italy  and  caused  grave  alarm 
for  the  very  existence  of  Rome  herself.  In  the  course  of  this 
struggle  and  in  fear  for  her  existence  Rome  yielded  in  fact,  if 
not  openly,  to  the  demand  of  the  Italians.  Some  states  re- 
ceived the  franchise  as  a  reward  for  fidelity  and  others  as  a 
bait  for  submission.  By  a  law  of  89  all  Italians  who  applied 


to  the  praetor  within  sixty  days  received  the  citizenship,  and 
this  belated  concession  had  its  effect.  The  face  of  Italy 
had  been  covered  with  mourning  to  secure  it.  Even  so  the 
governing  clique  succeeded  in  nullifying  the  political  value  of 
the  concession  by  confining  the  Italians  along  with  the  Roman 
freedmen  to  a  few  of  the  tribes  so  that  their  votes  were  almost 

The  pressure  of  this  war  and  of  the  great  Mithradatic  war 
which  began  simultaneously  in  Asia  led  to  a  serious  economic 
crisis  at  Rome.  Debt  and  usury  were  the  symptoms,  and 
when  a  praetor  tried  to  meet  it  by  reviving  the  old  laws  against 
usury  he  was  murdered  in  his  priestly  robes  at  sacrifice.  Now 
we  begin  to  hear  the  ominous  cry  of  "Novae  tabulae" — the 
clean  slate  for  debtors.  A  popular  orator  named  Sulpicius 
Rufus,  whose  programme  included  the  exclusion  of  all  bank- 
rupts from  the  senate,  protected  his  valuable  person  with  a 
bodyguard  of  3000  hired  roughs,  and  organised  a  mock  senate 
of  300  high-spirited  young  bloods.  Then,  since  Sulla  with 
his  army  threatened  opposition,  he  passed  a  decree  giving 
the  command  of  the  great  army  destined  to  fight  Mithra- 
dates  to  the  old  Marius.  During  the  Social  War  both  these 
generals  had  held  command  with  some  success,  but  on  the 
whole  the  reputation  of  Marius  had  declined  while  that  of 
Sulla  had  increased.  Without  hesitation  Sulla  now  marched 
his  army  into  Rome,  and  won  a  battle  in  the  streets  of  the 
city.  Sulpicius  was  of  course  executed,  his  head  was  nailed 
to  the  rostra,  and  Marius  escaped  under  circumstances  of 
romantic  adventure.  Sulla  was  thus  in  the  year  88  completely 
master  of  Rome. 

At  this  moment  his  real  ambition  was  for  more  fighting. 
Mithradates,  King  of  Pontus,*  was  then  in  full  career  of  rebel- 
lion against  the  Roman  dominion  in  Asia,  where  80,000 
Roman  traders  and  money-lenders  were  murdered  in  a  sudden 
mutiny.  Sulla  saw  in  Mithradates  a  worthy  foeman,  and  much 
preferred  glory  on  the  fields  of  Asia  to  Roman  politics;  and 

*  Plate  3,3,  No.  i. 



besides,  his  army  was  clamouring  for  plunder.  So  he  hastily 
flung  out  a  series  of  constitutional  reforms  designed  to  re- 
store the  senate  to  more  than  its  ancient  predominance,  and 
then  set  out  for  the  East,  heedless  or  ignorant  of  the  fact  that 
he  had  not  really  changed  anything.  On  the  contrary  he  had 
left  at  Rome  in  sole  charge  the  new  consul,  Cinna,  the  worst 
and  most  dangerous  of  all  the  demagogues.  Sulla — most 
innocent  of  reprobates — seems  to  have  fancied  that  an  oath 
to  obey  his  constitution  would  restrain  such  a  man  at  such 
a  time. 

Consequently  as  soon  as  his  back  was  turned  a  fresh  revo- 
lution broke  out.  Cinna  also  brought  an  army  to  Rome  and 
invited  Marius  to  return.  Then  the  old  general,  furious  with 
all  his  disappointments,  began  a  fearful  debauch  of  bloodshed. 
Every  distinguished  senator  left  in  Rome,  including  statesmen 
like  L.  Caesar,  soldiers  like  Catulus,  orators  like  Antonius  and 
Crassus,  were  butchered  by  his  slaves  and  their  heads  displayed 
in  the  forum.  In  86  Marius  gained  the  goal  of  his  ambition, 
that  seventh  consulship  which  had  been  promised  him  long 
ago  by  a  prophet.  In  the  same  year  he  died.  Now  for  four 
years  Cinna  ruled  as  monarch  at  Rome.  Year  after  year  he 
assumed  the  consulship  and  nominated  the  other  magistrates 
at  his  own  choice  without  the  formality  of  election.  He  re- 
pealed the  laws  of  Sulla,  equalised  all  the  citizens  in  the  tribes, 
and  reduced  all  debts  by  75  per  cent.  It  is  the  last  measure 
which  is  truly  typical  of  Roman  democracy.  Meanwhile,  of 
course,  the  reckoning  was  in  preparation  across  the  seas. 
Sulla  was  winning  glorious  victories  in  Greece  and  Asia,  and 
at  length  in  84,  drove  Mithradates  to  surrender  temporarily, 
Cinna,  who  does  not  seem  to  have  understood  that  a  Roman 
army  belonged  not  to  the  republic  but  to  its  general,  audaciously 
set  out  to  supersede  Sulla,  and  was  murdered  by  the  troops. 

Sulla,  having  offered  terms  which  the  government  very 
foolishly  declined,  came  home  in  83  after  five  years'  absence 
bearing  not  peace  but  a  sword.  He  had  five  veteran  legions 
of  his  own,  the  exiled  aristocrats  joined  him,  and  among  them 




a  young  man  called  Pompeius  with  three  more  legions.  The 
lead  of  the  democratic  party  had  now  fallen  into  the  hands  of 
a  young  Marius,  and  he  having  no  troops  to  oppose  the  return- 
ing veterans  decided  to  join  the  Samnite  rebels  who  remained 
unconquered  from  the  Social  War.  Before  leaving  the  city 
they  ordered  a  final  and  still  more  bloody  massacre  of  the 
surviving  aristocrats;  practically  all  the  men  of  distinction 
left  in  the  city  suffered  death.  Sulla  had  to  fight  40,000 
Samnites  at  the  Colline  Gate  of  Rome,  and  after  a  desperate 
struggle  was  victorious.  The  young  Marius  committed  suicide. 
Thus  Sulla  was  once  more  master  of  Rome.  His  8000  Samnite 
prisoners  were  slaughtered  in  the  Circus.  Of  the  Roman 
democrats,  80  senators,  3600  equites,  and  over  2000  private 
citizens  were  proscribed,  and  their  heads  nailed  up  in  the 
forum.  In  Spain,  Sertorius,  an  honest  and  valorous  democrat, 
maintained  a  gallant  struggle  by  the  aid  of  a  miraculous  deer, 
and  a  native  Spanish  army  trained  on  the  Roman  model,  until 
at  last  he  fell  by  treachery. 

For  two  years  Sulla  was  monarch  at  Rome.  For  the 
purpose  he  invented  a  sort  of  revival  of  the  obsolete  dictator- 
ship, without  limit  of  time  and  without  a  colleague.  If  we 
care  for  the  term,  Sulla  was  at  that  time  as  much  "  Emperor  " 
as  Augustus.  He  enacted  a  whole  constitution  of  his  own — 
which  it  is  scarcely  necessary  to  recount  since  scarcely  any  thing 
of  it  survived — all  destined  to  put  the  senate  on  its  throne 
again,  and  then  simply  abdicated  and  retired  into  private  life. 
I  think  he  was  bored  with  Rome  and  politics.  It  is  generally 
admitted  that  he  had  a  sense  of  humour.  It  was  a  very 
foolish  thing  to  do.  But  Sulla's  star  was  with  him  and  he 
died  in  his  bed.  His  dying  moments  were  comforted  by  the 
apparition  of  his  deceased  wife  (he  had  had  five)  and  son,  who 
invited  him  to  join  them  in  the  land  of  peace  and  bliss  beyond 
the  grave. 

Sulla  was  hardly  dead  before  another  consul  had  marched 
against  Rome  with  his  army  and  suffered  defeat  in  the  city. 
But  these  were  mere  episodes.  The  streets  of  the  sacred  city 



were  in  a  perpetual  state  of  war :  every  serious  politician  had 
to  organise  his  gang  of  roughs,  and  when  the  very  senate- 
house  was  burnt  down  in  one  such  encounter  it  only  seemed  an 
excessive  display  of  political  zeal.  Of  constitutional  govern- 
ment there  was  little  pretence.  The  seas  were  swarming  with 
pirates,  no  longer  isolated  rovers  who  preyed  upon  commerce, 
but  an  organised  pirate-state  with  head-quarters  in  Cilicia,  and 
a  great  fleet  consisting  of  all  the  broken  men  and  desperate 
outlaws  of  the  unhappy  Mediterranean  world.  They  sailed  the 
high  seas  in  fleets  under  admirals  who  voyaged  in  state  like 
princes.  For  their  homes  they  had  impregnable  citadels 
among  the  creeks  of  the  Cilician  and  Dalmatian  coasts  where 
they  stored  their  families  and  their  plunder.  They  were  not 
afraid  to  march  inland  to  sack  a  city  or  loot  a  rich  temple. 
Commerce  at  sea  was  ruined,  even  the  food-supply  of  the 
capital  was  occasionally  cut  off.  On  land  and  even  in  Italy 
things  were  not  much  better.  All  through  Republican  history 
(but  seldom  afterwards)  we  hear  of  risings  among  the  slaves 
of  Italy.  Now,  under  the  plantation  system,  the  inaccessible 
Apennine  highlands  were  swarming  with  desperate  runaways 
who  constantly  committed  minor  acts  of  brigandage.  In  73 
they  found  a  leader  in  Spartacus,  the  gladiator  who  was 
said  to  be  of  royal  descent  in  Thrace.  Starting  as  a  mere 
handful  the  band  swelled  in  the  course  of  a  few  months  to 
40,000.  Roman  armies  one  after  another  and  ten  in  all 
marched  against  them  in  vain.  Two  consuls  were  defeated, 
many  eagles  were  captured,  Italy  was  at  their  mercy. 
Respectable  towns  like  Thurii  and  Nola  were  seized,  their 
prisoners  were  crucified  like  slaves  or  forced  with  grim  irony 
to  fight  one  another  to  the  death  like  gladiators.  Thus  the 
most  frightful  form  of  civil  war  was  devastating  Italy.  It 
was  necessary  to  raise  an  army  of  eight  legions  to  crush  the 
slaves,  and  the  command  was  entrusted  to  Marcus  Crassus, 
who  even  then  had  to  decimate  a  legion  before  he  could  get 
his  cowardly  troops  to  stand  and  fight.  After  several  stubborn 
battles,  and  aided  by  the  want  of  discipline  which  was  even 
1 06 


more  conspicuous  among  the  slaves  than  among  the  Romans, 
Crassus  accomplished  his  task.  Six  thousand  crucified  slaves 
who  lined  the  road  from  Capua  to  Rome  testified  to  the 
restoration  of  order. 

Abroad    matters    were    little    better.      The   war  against 
Mithradates,  which  had  provided  so  many  Roman  triumphs 
and  had  so  often  been  proclaimed  at  an  end,  actually  lasted 
for  twenty-five  years,  and  its  duration  was  due  rather  to  the 
ineptitude   of   the  government   than   to   the   prowess   of   the 
unmilitary  Asiatics.      In  Spain  it  took   ten  years   to   defeat 
Sertorius  with  his  native  troops,  and  even  then  the  result  was 
only   accomplished    by   assassination.      If    a    Hannibal    had 
entered   Italy  in  these  latter  days  the  state  could  not  have 
survived.     But  there  was  only  one  military  power  of  any  con- 
sequence left  in  the  world  in  those  days,  the  Parthians.     Here 
there  were  half-hellenised  despots  ruling  over  tribes  of  warriors 
only   lately   descended    from    the    Caucasian   and   Armenian 
highlands,  and  still  nursing  a  fierce  mountain  spirit  though  they 
occupied  the  rich  plains  of  Mesopotamia.     Crassus,  the  victor 
over  the  slaves,  was  sent  to  fight  them  with  a  great  army,  but 
the  millionaire  displayed  wretched  ignorance  of  strategy  and 
especially  of  the  perils  of  Eastern  warfare.     He  blundered  on 
into  the  wilderness  and  tried  to  meet  the  terrible  horse-bowmen 
and  mail-clad  lancers  of  the  East  with  his  legions  in  a  hollow 
square.     The  result  was  the  great  disaster  of  Carrhae  in  53,  a 
defeat  which  amid  all  the  shameful  ignominies  of  this  period 
rankled  continually  owing  to  the  loss  of  the  eagles  and  the 
tragic  fate  of  the  leader.     Marcus  Crassus  himself  was  an  almost 
wholly  repulsive  character,  who  had  amassed  a  fortune,  colossal 
even  in  those  days  of  millionaires,  by  the  most  discreditable 
method.     The  foundations  of  his  millions  had  been  laid  by 
speculating  in  the  property  of  the  victims  of  Sulla's  proscrip- 
tions.    He  had  been  a  slave-trainer  on  a  large  scale  and  at  one 
time  he  had  organised  a  private  fire-brigade  which  he  used  for 
acquiring  house-property  cheaply  by  blackmail.     By  lending 
money  to  the  young  spendthrifts  of  the  aristocracy  he  obtained 



great  influence  at  Rome,  and  indeed  figures  in  the  wretched 
politics  of  his  day  as  a  statesman  on  equality  with  really  great 
men  like  Caesar  and  Pompeius.  But  he  had  no  policy  and 
was  only  of  importance  through  his  wealth  and  influence. 


So  we  come  to  the  final  phase  of  the  Republic  —  the  great 
struggle  between  the  giants  Caesar  and  Pompeius,  with  figures 
like  Cicero,  Cato,  and  Clodius  in  the  background.  I  do  not 
propose  to  linger  over  this  period,  because  on  the  one  hand  it 
is  so  thoroughly  well  known  as  the  period  of  fullest  evidence  in 
all  Roman  history,  and  therefore  would  require  a  volume  for 
adequate  treatment,  and  on  the  other  hand  because  it  has  been 
such  a  battle-ground  for  partisan  historians  of  all  times  that  it 
is  difficult  in  such  a  summary  as  this  to  do  justice  without 
detailed  argument. 

Gneius  Pompeius  the  Great  *  had  first  come  into  prominence 
as  a  supporter  of  Sulla.  He  was  of  high  official  family  and  was 
a  born  soldier.  That  is  really  the  secret  of  his  career.  Like 
Marius  he  was  a  general  and  no  statesman,  but  he  was  a  very 
great  general,  and  one  of  the  few  honest  men,  one  might  almost 
say  one  of  the  few  gentlemen,  of  his  period.  The  tragedy  of  his 
life  was  to  be  born  in  such  a  period.  He  had  disdained  the 
minor  offices  of  state,  and  relying  on  his  military  renown  but  in 
defiance  of  the  law,  he  stood  for  the  consulship  in  70  B.C.  As 
the  official  aristocracy  objected  he  went  over  to  the  democrats, 
and  allied  himself  with  Crassus.  These  two,  elected  under 
threat  of  Pompeius's  army,  straightway  repealed  most  of  the 
Sullan  constitution,  and  restored  the  balance  of  power  to  the 
knights  and  the  assembly.  At  the  end  of  the  year  Pompeius 
retired  into  private  life.  This  was  characteristic  of  him;  he 
was  capable  of  grandiose  schemes  but  he  lived  in  fear  of 
public  opinion,  and  he  was  really  moved  when  orators  spoke  of 
illegality.  Meanwhile  there  was  a  loud  demand  for  some 
comprehensive  scheme  of  attack  upon  the  pirates.  No  ordinary 

*  Plate  14. 
1  08 



consular  command  would  do.  Even  the  Roman  senate  was  by 
this  time  convinced  that  it  was  useless  to  send  legions  and 
cavalry  against  pirate  ships.  Accordingly  a  Gabinian  Law  of 
67  gave  to  Pompeius  a  command  of  unprecedented  magnitude. 
Millions  of  money  were  voted  to  him,  he  was  to  be  supreme 
over  all  the  seas  and  all  the  coasts  for  fifty  miles  inland  for  three 
years,  with  a  staff  of  twenty-five  legates,  and  all  governors  were 
to  obey  his  orders.  The  price  of  corn  fell  at  once :  Pompeius 
discovered  abundance  of  it  in  the  granaries  of  the  Sicilian  corn 
trust.  Then  he  began  a  systematic  drive  of  the  seas,  and  in 
about  three  months  had  cleared  them.  Thousands  of  pirates 
were  caught  and  crucified.  All  this  made  Pompeius  the  most 
powerful  and  the  most  dangerous  man  in  Rome. 

Next  the  tribune  Manilius,  in  whose  favour  that  rising 
novus  homo  the  friend  of  our  youth,  Marcus  Tullius  Cicero, 
pronounced  an  oration,  gave  to  Pompeius  another  huge  com- 
mission against  Mithradates,  the  irrepressible  rebel  of  Asia. 
Pompeius  succeeded  where  all  his  predecessors,  from  Sulla  to 
Lucullus,  had  failed,  and  the  wicked  old  king  was  driven  to 
suicide.  Then  Pompeius  proceeded  to  organise  the  East  like 
an  Alexander,  but  always  in  perfect  loyalty  to  Rome. 

While  Pompeius  was  absent  the  so-called  democracy,  which 
mostly  consisted  of  hired  ruffians  in  the  pay  of  discontented 
nobles,  ruled  the  streets  of  the  city.  Among  the  young  nobles 
who  took  this  side  was  one  more  dissolute  and  more  foppish 
than  the  rest,  a  notorious  adulterer  and  spendthrift,  Gaius 
Julius  Caesar.  Though  of  the  highest  birth — the  goddess  Venus 
by  her  marriage  with  the  father  of  ^Eneas  was  among  his 
ancestors — he  was  also  by  lineage  associated  with  the  demo- 
cracy. His  aunt  was  the  wife  of  Marius,  and  his  wife  was  a 
daughter  of  Cinna.  He  began  his  public  career  quaintly 
enough  as  pontifex  maximus.  When  Julia  the  widow  of 
Marius  died,  young  Caesar  had  the  audacity  to  display  images 
and  utter  an  oration  in  praise  of  Marius.  This,  as  was  intended, 
set  all  the  gossips  talking,  and  his  amazing  extravagance  kept 
him  well  in  the  public  eye.  On  one  occasion  he  exhibited  three 



hundred  gladiators  in  silver  armour,  although  he  was  known  to 
be  penniless.  Probably  Crassus  was  his  financier  all  along. 

At  this  time  there  was  another  of  the  frequently  recurring 
financial  crises  at  Rome.  Everybody  was  deeply  in  debt,  and 
loud  rose  the  cry  for  the  clean  slate,  as  part  of  the  democratic 
programme — the  only  intelligible  part.  This  was  the  cause  of 
the  famous  conspiracy  of  Catiline,  who,  if  Cicero  may  be  trusted, 
proposed  to  seize  and  burn  Rome  by  the  aid  of  the  discontented 
Sullan  colonists  in  Etruria.  Both  Caesar  and  Crassus  are  said 
to  have  favoured  the  plot,  but  it  is  exceedingly  difficult  to  see 
what  a  large  owner  of  Roman  house  property  had  to  gain  by  it. 
Cicero  was  the  consul  for  the  year  63,  and  though  it  is  the 
fashion  just  now  to  sneer  at  Cicero,  he  seems  to  have  displayed 
courage  and  promptitude  in  dealing  with  the  conspirators.  Un- 
fortunately his  arrest  and  execution  of  Catiline  was  technically 
illegal.  Cicero  himself,  as  a  parvenu,  was  naturally  an  aristo- 
crat, and  his  policy,  though  futile,  was  intelligible.  Briefly,  it 
was  to  unite  the  senate  with  the  capitalist  class  in  what  he 
called  the  "union  of  the  orders"  against  the  democratic 
elements  of  disorder.  Pompeius  came  home  from  the  East  to 
find  the  conspiracy  crushed.  He  and  his  legions  were  not 
wanted.  With  incredible  folly  and  ingratitude  the  senate,  led 
by  Cicero,  refused  even  to  grant  the  lands  he  had  promised  to 
his  veterans. 

Caesar  had  gone  as  praetor  to  Spain,  and  there  began  to 
win  military  renown — much  to  the  surprise  of  his  friends — and 
money.  He  wanted  the  consulship  for  the  next  year,  and  there- 
fore required  the  support  of  Pompeius,  who  had  now  been  driven 
away  from  the  aristocratic  party  to  which  he  belonged  by 
sympathy.  Crassus  came  in  as  Caesar's  creditor  and  as  the 
necessary  millionaire.  Thus  was  formed  the  Triumvirate  of  the 
year  60,  and  in  59  Caesar  became  consul.  By  this  time  he  had 
conceived  high,  possibly  the  highest,  ambitions.  Marius  and 
Sulla,  not  to  mention  Alexander  and  ./Eneas,  had  always  been 
much  in  his  mind.  For  the  present  his  object  was  to  acquire 
a  lasting  office  and  secure  the  allegiance  of  a  trained  army, 


Caesar's  colleague  in  the  consulship  was  a  certain  Bibulus,  who 
tried  to  stop  the  dangerous  proceedings  of  the  democrat  by 
seeing  omens  in  the  heavens  every  day,  but  no  one,  least  of  all 
Caesar,  took  any  notice  of  him.  The  only  serious  opposition 
came  from  Cato  the  Younger,  who  represented  the  genuine  and 
respectable  aristocracy.  This  Cato  was  a  queer  anachronism  at 
Rome,  an  honest  man.  He  was  also,  if  biography  may  be 
trusted,  a  bigot  and  a  priggish  eccentric.  He  was  the  sort  of 
man  to  go  about  Africa  without  a  hat,  or  to  sit  on  the  judicial 
bench  without  shoes,  because  such  was  the  mos  maiorum.  He 
tried  to  revive  the  ways  which  had  been  styled  old-fashioned 
in  his  grandfather.  Nevertheless  he  was  upright  and  brave,  a 
good  soldier,  and  a  man  with  a  clear  though  impossible  policy. 
Once  again  it  is  the  fault  of  rhetorical  history  that  all  the  good 
men  of  Rome  appear  as  prigs  and  eccentrics.  This  man  most 
courageously  opposed  his  veto  to  the  proceedings  of  Caesar, 
though  he  was  hustled  and  beaten  by  the  democratic  hirelings, 
then  organised  under  that  most  notorious  scoundrel  Clodius. 
But  the  result  was  that  though  Caesar's  laws  might  pass,  they 
could  afterwards  be  declared  illegal,  and  Caesar  would  be  liable 
to  prosecution  as  soon  as  he  became  a  private  citizen.  How 
ever,  he  had  no  immediate  intention  of  becoming  a  private 
citizen.  He  secured  the  province  of  Gaul  for  five  years  with 
four  legions. 

Now  Gaul  was  not  reckoned  an  important  province.  It 
was  only  the  peaceful  plain  of  Upper  Italy  to  which  the  senate 
had  added  Narbonensian  Gaul,  a  southern  strip  of  France, 
chiefly  considered  as  a  step  on  the  road  to  Spain.  Four 
legions  was  a  small  consular  army  for  those  days;  no  one 
supposed  that  he  would  have  much  fighting.  But  either  Caesar 
had  received  secret  intelligence  or  else  he  had  very  good  luck. 
At  the  outset  he  was  called  to  deal  with  a  great  immigration 
of  the  barbarian  Helvetii,  who  were  migrating  out  of  Switzer- 
land into  Gaul  and  threatening  the  province. 

The  conservatives  at  Rome  maintained  that  Caesar's  con- 
quests in  Gaul  were  the  result  of  wanton  aggression — cheap 



victories   over    inoffensive   savages,    wholly  unjustifiable   and 
unauthorised.     At  this  point  it  is  scarcely  possible  to  avoid 
entering  upon  the    much-debated    question    of    Caesar's  real 
character.     For  orthodox  Romans  Caesar  was  the  founder  of 
the  empire,  a  person  not  only  of  divine  descent,  but  himself 
divine.     All  emperors  took  his  name,  until  that  surname  of 
Caesar,  once  a  mere  nickname,  came,  in  half  the  languages  of 
Europe,  to  be  synonymous  with  "  Emperor."     For  the  Middle 
Ages  he  stood  with  Constantine,  who  christianised  the  Empire, 
and  Charlemagne,  who  revived   it,  as  the  founder  of    that 
divinely  instituted  polity  which  shared  with  the  Church  God's 
viceregency  on  earth.    In  the  eyes  of  Dante,  Caesar  stood  very 
near  to  Christ,  for  the  poet  peoples  the  frozen  heart  of  his 
Inferno  with  three  tormented  figures  who  writhe  in  the  very 
jaws  of  Cocytus.     Along  with  Judas  Iscariot  are  the  two  mur- 
derers of  Julius  Caesar.     Though  the  Renaissance  stripped  him 
of  much  of  his  legendary  greatness,  Caesar  remained  for  the 
men  of  Shakespeare's  day  the  embodiment  of  imperial  pride. 
Shakespeare  himself  was  too  great  an  artist  to  make  any  of 
his  characters  more  or  less  than  human,  but  it  is  evidently 
Brutus  who  has  the  sympathies  of  the  dramatist.      In  the 
French  Revolution,  again,  Brutus  and  Cassius  were  heroes 
and  glorious  tyrannicides.     The  reaction  against  early  nine- 
teenth-century liberalism  brought  Caesar  once  more  into  honour, 
and  Mommsen,  the  prophet  of  Caesarism,  makes  him  the  hero 
of  his  great  history.     To  Mommsen  Caesar  was  almost  divine, 
the  clear-sighted  and  magnanimous  "  saviour  "  who  alone  saw 
the  true  path  out  of  the  disorders  of  his  city.     From  this  view 
again  we  are  apparently  now  in  reaction  once  more.     To  the 
latest  critics  the  greatness  of  Caesar  and  of  Mommsen  are  alike 
abhorrent,  and   Signer  Ferrero  depicts   his  greatest    fellow- 
countryman  as  an  unscrupulous  demagogue   who  blundered 
into  renown  through  treachery  and  bloodshed. 

The  historical  principle  by  which  this  result  is  attained  is 
rather  typical  of  certain  modern  critical  methods.  Since  the 
account  of  the  Gallic  Wars  was  written  chiefly  by  Caesar 


himself,  and  Caesar  is  by  hypothesis -a  scoundrel,  the  history 
of  these  wars  must  be  found  by  reading  between  the  lines  of 
Caesar's  account,  putting  the  most  unfavourable  construction 
upon  everything  and  preferring  any  evidence  to  his,  even  if  it 
be  that  of  two  centuries  later.  If  any  gaps  or  inconsistencies 
are  noticed  they  must  be  treated  as  concealing  defeats  or  acts 
of  treachery.  Written  in  this  spirit,  the  story  of  the  Gallic 
Wars  is  a  very  black  one  for  Caesar  and  Rome.  Yet  unbiassed 
readers  must  generally  admit  that  Caesar  was  a  very  careful 
and  on  the  whole  an  honest  historian.  The  accusation  that 
he  was  capable  of  relentless  cruelty  springs  from  his  own  ad- 
missions. It  was  in  the  Roman  character  to  despise  life,  and 
when  Caesar  thought  that  a  rebellious  tribe  needed  a  lesson  he 
did  not  hesitate  to  massacre  defenceless  women  and  children 
or  to  lay  waste  miles  of  territory  with  fire  and  sword.  But, 
on  the  other  hand,  his  preference  was  for  clemency  and 

Without  making  him  a  demigod,  we  ought  to  be  able  to 
see  his  greatness.  As  a  young  man  his  ardour  of  soul,  work- 
ing in  a  debased  society  without  ideals,  made  him  simply 
more  extravagant  and  more  foppish  than  the  spendthrifts 
and  rakes  who  surrounded  him.  Doubtless  the  scandalous 
Suetonius  has  embellished  the  story  of  his  early  follies.  Many 
of  his  youthful  escapades  were,  one  suspects,  carefully  designed 
to  bring  him  into  notice.  It  is  probable  that  from  a  very  early 
age  he  was  ambitious,  and  his  family  connections  clearly 
marked  out  his  career  as  a  democrat.  He  had  the  failure  of 
Sulla  before  his  eyes.  The  greatness  of  his  character  lay 
chiefly  in  an  instinctive  hatred  for  muddle  and  pretence.  He 
could  not  fail  to  see  the  hopeless  confusion  into  which  the 
Roman  state  had  fallen.  From  the  first,  I  think,  he  was 
aiming  at  power  for  himself  in  order  to  put  things  straight. 
Whether  self  or  country  came  first  in  his  calculations,  it  is 
hard,  perhaps  impossible,  to  decide ;  but  the  historian  is  not 
necessarily  a  cynic  when  he  demands  strong  proof  of  altruism 
in  the  world  of  politics.  To  obtain  power  the  democratic  side 

H  113 

was  the  only  possible  one,  for  the  nobles  stood  for  the  pre- 
dominance only  of  their  class.  Crassus  was  necessary  to 
Caesar  as  his  banker  and  creditor  until  he  had  acquired  a 
fortune  for  himself  by  conquest.  Pompeius  was  the  foremost 
soldier  of  the  day,  and  it  is  probable  that  Caesar  deliberately 
sought  to  climb  over  the  shoulders  of  Pompeius  into  monarchy. 
He  saw — he  could  not  help  seeing,  for  it  was  written  plainly 
in  the  history  of  the  past  century — that  for  power  two  things 
were  necessary,  the  support  of  the  mob  in  the  forum  and  the 
backing  of  a  veteran  army.  At  the  time  when  Caesar  got 
Gaul  for  his  province  there  was  a  fresh  movement  towards 
imperial  expansion.  Foreign  conquest  afforded  some  relief 
for  the  chagrins  of  internal  politics.  By  it  Marius,  Sulla,  and 
Pompeius  had  become  powerful.  If  Caesar  wanted  to  eclipse 
them  all,  he  must  present  Rome  with  a  new  province,  the 
most  powerful  of  all  bribes.  It  was  in  this  spirit  that  he  set 
out  for  Gaul.  If  his  ulterior  motive  was  selfish  it  is  certain 
that  he  threw  himself  heart  and  soul,  with  all  the  burning 
energy  of  which  his  tireless  spirit  was  capable,  into  the  work 

of  conquest  and  civilisation. 

And  what  a  work  it  was !  Archae- 
ology is  now  beginning  to  prove  to 
history  that  the  so-called  barbarians 
were  by  no  means  always  savages. 
Even  the  "naked  woad-stained"  Britons 
had  their  arts  and  industries  and  politi- 
cal systems.  The  Gauls,  when  Caesar 
attacked  them,  were  well  on  the  road  to 
civilisation.  Druidism  was  a  declining 
force,  town-life  was  beginning,  and 
there  was  even  a  fairly  artistic  coinage. 
The  Gallic  pottery  is  by  no  means 
destitute  of  beauty.  As  soldiers  the 
Gauls  showed  many  of  the  qualities  of  their  descendants, 
a  devoted  impetuosity  in  the  charge,  coupled  with  a  lack  of 
tenacity  in  resistance  which  always  cost  them  dear.  Much  of 

Gallic  Pottery 


Csesar's  success  was  due  to  his  skill  in  dividing  them  against 
themselves,  but  many  of  his  difficulties  arose  from  their  fickle 
disposition.  Mommsen,  like  a  true  Bismarckian  German,  has 
a  striking  comparison  of  the  ancient  ^~  — , 

Gallic  Celt  with  the  modern  Irishman. 
"  On  the  eve,"  he  says,  "  of  parting 
from  this  remarkable  nation,  we  may 
be  allowed  to  call  attention  to  the  fact 
that  in  the  accounts  of  the  ancients 
as  to  the  Celts  on  the  Loire  and  the  Gallic  Pottery 

Seine  we  find  almost  every  one  of  the 

characteristic  traits  which  we  are  accustomed  to  recognise  as 
marking  the  Irish.  Every  feature  reappears :  the  laziness  in 
the  culture  of  the  fields ;  the  delight  in  tippling  and  brawling ; 
the  ostentation  .  .  .  the  droll  humour  ...  the  hearty  delight 
in  singing  and  reciting  the  deeds  of  past  ages,  and  the  most 
decided  talent  for  rhetoric  and  poetry;  the  curiosity — no 
trader  was  allowed  to  pass  before  he  had  told  in  the  open 
street  what  he  knew,  or  did  not  know,  in  the  shape  of  news — 
and  the  extravagant  credulity  which  acted  on  such  accounts 
.  .  .  the  childlike  piety  which  sees  in  the  priest  a  father  and 
asks  him  for  advice  in  all  things"  (this,  by  the  way,  was 
apparently  a  characteristic  of  the  contemporary  Germans  also), 
"  the  unsurpassed  fervour  of  national  feeling,  and  the  closeness 
with  which  those  who  are  fellow-countrymen  cling  together 
almost  like  one  family  in  opposition  to  the  stranger;  the 
inclination  to  rise  in  revolt  under  the  first  chance  leader  that 
presents  himself,  but  at  the  same  time  the  utter  incapacity  to 
preserve  a  self-reliant  courage  equally  remote  from  presump- 
tion and  pusillanimity,  to  perceive  the  right  time  for  waiting  and 
for  striking,  to  obtain  or  even  barely  to  tolerate  any  organisa- 
tion, any  sort  of  fixed  military  or  political  discipline.  It  is,  and 
remains,  at  all  times  and  places  the  same  indolent  and  poetical, 
irresolute  and  fervid,  inquisitive,  credulous,  amiable,  clever,  but 
— from  a  political  point  of  view — thoroughly  useless  nation ;  and 
therefore  its  fate  has  been  always  and  everywhere  the  same." 

The  internal  politics  of  Gaul  seem  to  have  been  marked 
by  a  division  between  two  parties,  one  the  conservative 
party  of  the  aristocratic  knights,  the  other  a  nationalist 
and  popular  faction.  Caesar  used  these  divisions  for  the 
furtherance  of  his  scheme  of  conquest.  He  was  not  only  a 
consummate  general  with  an  instinct  for  strategic  points  and 
huge  combinations,  but  he  was  also  a  superb  regimental  officer 
in  the  making  of  soldiers.  By  the  end  of  his  ten  years  he  had 
forged  a  small  but  invincible  army  devoted  to  his  interests 
and  entirely  confident  in  his  leadership.  Personally,  moreover, 
the  Roman  debauchee  was  the  best  soldier  in  the  army. 
Physically  he  was  a  stranger  to  weariness  or  fatigue.  He 
could  travel  immense  distances  with  incredible  rapidity,  alone 
on  horseback,  or  with  a  handful  of  followers.  He  seemed 
ubiquitous.  In  the  battle,  when  his  men  wavered,  he  would 
leap  down  into  the  ranks,  sword  in  hand,  or  snatch  the 
standard  from  the  hand  of  a  centurion  and  fight  among  the 
foremost.  No  detail  of  fortification  or  commissariat  escaped 
him,  and  he,  more  than  any  one  else,  showed  the  power  of 
engineering  in  warfare.  In  the  supreme  battle  against 
Pompeius  he  even  carried  his  devotion  to  the  spade  beyond 
reasonable  limits  when  he  tried  to  circumvallate  the  much 
larger  camp  of  his  enemies.  One  of  his  most  surprising 
exploits  was  when  half  Gaul,  supposed  to  be  pacified,  rose  in 
sudden  revolt  under  Vercingetorix.  With  a  much  smaller 
army  he  chased  the  rebels  into  the  fortress  of  Alesia,  neglect- 
ing for  the  time  all  communication  with  his  base,  and  fully 
aware  that  a  still  larger  army  would  soon  advance  to  the  relief 
of  the  besieged.  He  therefore  entrenched  himself  outside 
the  gates  of  the  city  and  kept  off  the  relieving  force  with  one 
hand  while  he  continued  the  siege  with  the  other.  But  while 
he  was  capable  of  brilliant  strokes  of  audacity  like  this,  he 
was  also  a  cold  and  cautious  organiser  of  victory,  ready  to 
meet  his  enemies  on  their  own  ground  and  with  their  own 

In  this  great  war,  which  ended  in  the  conquest  of  Gaul, 


Caesar's  expeditions  to  Britain  were  mere  episodes  which  have 
been  greatly  exaggerated  in  the  traditional  histories  of  our 
schools.  They  were  summer  raids,  like  his  dash  across  the 
Rhine,  intended  for  a  warning  to  the  barbarians  of  the  hinter- 
land ;  for  it  seems  that  communication  to  and  fro  across  the 
channel  was  continuous.  It  is  probable  enough  that  the  per- 
suasions of  the  Roman  traders  who  swarmed  after  the  eagles 
across  Gaul  had  their  influence  also.  Undoubtedly  the  Romans 
of  this  generation  were  keenly  alive  to  commercial  openings, 
and  always  on  the  search  for  mines,  real  or  imaginary.  Further, 
we  cannot  deny  that  Csesar  in  all  his  undertakings  had  one 
eye  upon  his  political  position  in  Rome  itself,  and  the  "con- 
quest of  Britain,"  that  almost  legendary  corner  of  the  earth, 
concealed  in  boreal  mists  and  embosomed  in  the  ever-flowing 
Ocean  river,  would  be  a  sensational  achievement  calculated  to 
outshine  the  Oriental  triumphs  of  Pompeius.  One  cannot  but 
place  among  the  extravagances  of  hero-worship  Mommsen's 
belief  that  Csesar  had  a  prophetic  insight  into  the  true  nature 
of  the  "  German  Peril "  for  Rome.  When  Caesar  took  over 
the  Gallic  province  there  was  no  tremendous  German  menace. 
There  had  always  been  occasional  irruptions  of  the  barbarians 
from  across  the  Rhine,  and  a  steady  German  penetration  of  the 
Netherlands.  Caesar  did  not  lay  down  any  intelligible  frontier 
policy :  that  was  one  of  the  achievements  of  Augustus.  Both 
in  Gaul  and  Britain  it  was  simply  a  forward  movement  by  a 
general  of  bold  and  untiring  resolution,  backed  by  an  invincible 
army.  The  two  trips  to  Britain,  like  those  across  the  Rhine, 
were  reconnaissances  only,  and  the  conquest  of  the  island  was 
one  of  the  legacies  which  Caesar  intended  to  reserve  for  the 
future.  His  successor  very  wisely  declined  it.  There  was 
little  immediate  profit  there,  and  the  Gallic  conquests  had 
glutted  the  Roman  market  with  slaves. 

Gaul  had  submitted  easily  to  a  force  of  less  than  forty 
thousand  Romans;  then  it  had  revolted  unsuccessfully.  In 
the  end  the  whole  country  acknowledged  defeat  and  rapidly 
began  to  assimilate  Latin  civilisation.  Meanwhile  in  the 



imperial  city  the  Republic  was  slowly  expiring  by  a  natural 
death.  Every  winter  Caesar  returned  to  the  Cisalpine  part  of 
his  province  to  receive  intelligence  from  Rome  and  secure  his 
position  there.  Clodius,  the  most  evil  of  mob-leaders,  was  his 
agent  with  the  democracy.  Clodius  had  managed  to  hound 
the  respectable  Cicero  into  exile  for  his  share  in  suppressing 
Catiline,  and  when  Cicero,  who  was  really  popular  at  Rome, 
had  at  length  persuaded  Pompeius  to  allow  his  return,  the  great 
orator  remained  thenceforward  a  timid  and  reluctant  servant 
of  the  triumvirate,  defending  their  friends  or  prosecuting  their 
enemies,  with  inward  reluctance,  no  doubt,  but  with  unimpaired 
eloquence.  With  his  astonishing  victories  in  Gaul  the  star  of 
Julius  was  rising  in  the  political  heavens.  The  commons  of 
Rome  were  not  only  dazzled  by  his  successes,  but  captivated 
by  his  largesses.  Meanwhile  Pompeius  was  living  on  his 
military  reputation,  and  slowly  squandering  it  by  his  political 
incapacity.  He  continued  to  hold  various  high  offices  unknown 
to  the  constitution ;  he  became  sole  consul,  a  thing  abhorrent 
to  the  Roman  system;  he  held  the  province  of  Spain  and 
governed  it  from  Italy  through  his  legates,  and  at  the  same 
time  continued  to  exercise  a  general  oversight  over  the  corn- 
supply  of  Rome.  In  fact  there  was  scarcely  anything  in  the 
future  position  of  a  Roman  emperor  which  had  not  its  pre- 
cedent in  the  career  of  Pompeius.  Had  he  wished  it,  or,  more 
probably,  had  he  known  how  to  obtain  it,  he  and  not  Augustus 
might  easily  have  been  the  first  Roman  emperor.  By  taste  and 
natural  sympathies  he  was  an  aristocrat,  but  the  force  of  cir- 
cumstances had  driven  him  into  an  uncomfortable  position  of 
alliance  with  Caesar  the  democrat  and  Crassus  the  plutocrat. 
This  was  in  a  large  measure  the  secret  of  his  political  helpless- 
ness. He,  the  conqueror  of  the  East,  often  found  himself 
openly  flouted,  nay,  actually  hustled  and  threatened  in  the 
streets,  by  the  organised  roughs.  Meanwhile  there  was  a 
small  but  tenacious  opposition  party  of  aristocrats,  who  had  no 
discipline  and  therefore  no  leaders,  but  among  whom  Cato  and 
Marcellus  were  the  most  conspicuous.  They  had  not  the 


strength  to  offer  any  consistent  resistance  to  Caesar's  progress, 
which  they  watched  with  growing  jealousy  and  alarm.  They 
had  not  the  sense  to  rally  the  respectable  elements  in  the  state 
to  their  side.  Both  Cicero  and  Pompeius  would  readily  have 
joined  them  if  they  had  made  it  possible.  Instead  of  that,  they 
were  content  to  carp  at  Caesar's  achievements  and  threaten  him 
with  a  prosecution  as  soon  as  he  should  return  to  private  life. 
That  was  the  stupidest  mistake,  for  it  made  Caesar  resolve  at 
all  costs  to  retain  his  command,  and  eventually  precipitated  the 
civil  war. 

As  it  can  easily  be  seen,  the  coalition  between  Caesar  and 
Pompeius  was  not  a  natural  one:  psychologically  they  had 
nothing  in  common,  and  their  interests  soon  began  to  diverge. 
Pompeius  could  hardly  fail  to  perceive  that  Caesar  was  climbing 
by  his  help  and  at  his  expense.  The  old  general  saw  the 
memory  of  his  great  deeds  eclipsed  by  the  ''.ew  one,  and  there 
was  no  lack  of  mischief-makers  to  widen  the  breach.  The 
alliance  had  been  cemented  in  a  striking  fashion  at  a  con- 
ference at  Lucca  in  56  B.C.  when  the  conservatives  were 
threatening  to  annul  Caesar's  acts  in  Gaul.  Caesar  had  replied 
by  inviting  Pompeius  to  meet  him  in  his  southern  province ; 
he  also  invited  those  senators  who  were  his  friends  to  appear 
at  the  same  time.  Two  hundred  senators  had  answered  the 
invitation,  and  for  the  time  being  the  opposition  died  away 
into  grumbling. 

But  now  the  breach  was  growing  open  to  all  men's  eyes. 
Caesar's  charming  daughter,  Julia,  who  had  been  married  to 
Pompeius  as  a  pledge  of  union,  and  had  done  much  to  hold 
the  two  chiefs  together,  died  at  an  early  age  in  the  year  54. 
In  the  next  year  Crassus,  the  mediating  third  party  of  the 
"triumvirate,"  met  his  fate  at  Carrhse.  In  the  next  there 
were  more  than  ordinary  disorders  over  the  elections,  cul- 
minating in  a  fierce  battle  in  the  forum  between  the  rival  gangs 
of  Clodius  for  the  triumvirate  and  Milo  for  the  senate.  The 
senate-house  was  burnt  and  Clodius  slain.  Pompeius  then 
became  sole  consul,  and  proceeded,  under  threat  of  his  army, 


to  introduce  a  series  of  laws  almost  openly  aimed  at  Caesar. 
By  the  Pompeian  law  of  magistrates  Caesar  would  be  compelled 
to  appear  in  Rome  as  a  private  citizen  for  some  months  in  the 
year  49,  at  the  mercy  of  his  enemies,  while  Pompeius  himself, 
by  having  his  titular  command  in  Spain  prolonged,  would  still 
be  master  of  an  army.  These  laws  were  passed  at  the  crisis  of 
Caesar's  fate  in  Gaul,  when  the  whole  nation  had  risen  in  arms 
against  him.  But  Caesar  emerged  victorious,  and  was  now,  in 
the  year  50,  free  to  consider  his  position  in  regard  to  Pompeius 
and  the  senate.  Caesar  himself  maintains  that  he  was  reluctant 
to  resort  to  violence,  and  I  think  we  may  believe  him.  Though 
nine  legions  were  still  under  his  command,  he  could  hardly 
venture  to  denude  the  newly  conquered  province  of  its  gar- 
risons, while  Pompeius  was  master  of  an  equal  number  of 
legions,  including  the  veteran  Spanish  troops,  and  could  levy 
any  number  of  recruits  or  reservists  in  Italy.  Caesar  could  not 
have  faced  the  prospect  of  a  civil  war  with  any  confidence  as  to 
the  result,  even  if  he  had  been  the  sort  of  man  to  provoke  it 
without  scruple.  There  is  a  further  proof :  as  late  as  50  B.C. 
he  resigned  two  legions  to  Pompeius,  which  would  have  been 
madness  if  he  had  then  intended  to  wade  through  bloodshed 
to  a  throne.  In  all  the  abortive  negotiations  which  preceded 
the  outbreak  of  the  great  civil  war,  Caesar  was  prepared  to 
resign  everything  except  the  one  condition  upon  which  his  very 
life  depended,  namely,  that  he  should  not  have  to  return  to 
Rome  as  a  defenceless  private  citizen.  The  civil  war  was  due 
to  the  mad  folly  of  the  conservatives  led  by  Marcellus,  who  had 
convinced  themselves  that  Caesar  meant  to  sack  Rome  with  his 
Gallic  cavalry  and  to  reign  as  tyrant  over  its  ashes.  In  the  end 
they  succeeded  in  communicating  their  panic  to  Pompeius. 

Conciliatory  to  the  last,  Caesar  was  driven  to  show  that 
he  was  in  earnest.  Bidden  to  dismiss  his  army,  and  declared 
a  public  enemy,  in  January  49  B.C.  he  took  the  decisive  step  of 
crossing  the  little  river  Rubicon  which  marked  the  frontier  of 
Italy.  Even  then  it  was  only  a  demonstration  of  force.  Only 
1500  men  followed  Caesar  to  Rimini  and  Arezzo,  and  he  still 
1 20 



offered  peace  on  the  most  moderate  terms.  But  the  panic- 
stricken  and  conscience-stricken  senators,  still  believing  in 
the  imminent  sack  of  Rome,  decided  to  leave  their  wives  and 
children  there  while  they  saved  their  precious  necks,  in  head- 
long flight  to  Capua,  and  then  to  Brindisi,  and  then  to  Greece. 
The  great  Pompeius  showed  equal  panic.  Apparently  de- 
moralised by  Caesar's  swift  and  decisive  movements,  he  decided 
to  give  up  Italy  without  a  struggle  and  retire  to  the  East,  where 
all  his  triumphs  had  been  won.  From  there  he  would  fight  for 
the  lordship  of  the  world. 

But  meanwhile  Caesar,  by  his  clemency  no  less  than  by  his 
bold  resolution,  was  winning  all  Italy  to  his  side.  Only  one 
member  of  his  army — his  old  lieutenant-general  Labienus — 
deserted  him,  while  fresh  recruits  even  from  the  senatorial 
party  daily  joined  him.  Cool  and  methodical  as  ever,  he  left 
Rome  to  recover  from  its  panic,  and  the  East  to  wait  until  he 
had  secured  his  hold  upon  the  West.  He  knew  the  value  of 
a  veteran  army,  and  therefore  turned  his  march  first  to  Spain. 
It  took  him  but  a  short  time  to  secure  the  capitulation  of 
Pompeius's  lieutenants  in  that  province,  and  then  at  last  he 
returned  to  Rome.  He  was  only  in  the  city  for  eleven  days, 
but  in  that  time  he  was  able  to  remove  the  panic  and  disorder 
there.  He  restored  credit,  assured  the  supply  of  corn,  and  got 
a  grant  of  citizen  rights  for  his  faithful  provincials  of  Cisalpine 

Meanwhile  the  Pompeian  army  was  gathering  in  northern 
Greece,  and  the  senators  were  breathing  death  and  damnation 
against  Caesar.  The  final  struggle  on  the  Albanian  coast  and 
in  Thessaly,  which  culminated  in  the  great  battle  of  Pharsalus 
(48  B.C.),  decided  the  fate  of  the  world.  The  troops  were  fairly 
equal,  if  numbers  and  training  are  taken  into  account  ;  in 
numbers  alone  Csesar  was  far  inferior.  But  Caesar's  men  had 
extraordinary  devotion  to  their  general,  as  he  had  to  his  beloved 
legions.  Never  was  there  completer  confidence  between  an 
army  and  its  leader  than  between  Caesar  and  his  veterans.  He 
could  be  merciless  in  discipline.  Once  he  had  to  decimate  the 



Ninth  Legion,  but  he  could  move  his  grim  legionaries  to  tears 
by  a  reproach.  He  shared  all  their  labours,  he  starved  with 
them,  and  marched  those  prodigious  forced  marches  by  their  side. 
They  trusted  in  his  generalship,  and  they  were  not  disappointed. 
Pompeius  showed,  when  at  last  he  roused  himself,  that  he  too 
had  not  forgotten  the  military  art.  It  was  a  battle  of  giants ; 
Pompeius  the  more  orthodox  tactician,  Caesar  incredibly  bold, 
rapid,  and  far-seeing.  More  than  once  it  was  touch  and  go. 
Caesar  had  terrible  difficulties  to  face,  above  all  in  the  necessity 
of  transporting  his  army  across  the  wintry  Adriatic  in  face  of 
the  enemy  when  he  had  no  fleet.  The  feat  was  accomplished 
by  sheer  audacity,  and  then  he  had  to  face  and  contain  a  larger 
army,  thoroughly  well  prepared  and  supplied,  with  no  base  and 
no  communications  for  his  own  men.  He  actually  tried  to  fling 
a  line  of  earthworks  round  the  Pompeian  army  while  his  own 
men  were  starving.  Yet  it  was  by  generalship  that  the  battle 
of  Pharsalus  was  won. 

Pompeius  fled  to  Egypt  for  refuge,  and  was  murdered  there 
by  treacherous  Alexandrians  and  renegade  Romans.  Caesar, 
who  had  received  the  submission  of  the  whole  provincial  world 
with  the  exception  of  King  Juba's  African  realm,  followed 
Pompeius  to  Egypt,  and  on  landing  was  presented  with  his 
rival's  head.  In  Alexandria  itself  Caesar  had  to  face  one  of  the 
most  serious  crises  of  his  life.  For  six  months  he  held  the 
royal  palace  against  a  host  of  infuriated  Orientals.  In  the  palace 
was  Cleopatra,  the  wife  and  sister  of  the  reigning  Ptolemy,  and 
then  a  brilliant  and  fascinating  young  woman  of  twenty.  Let 
us  believe  that  she  was  beautiful,  and  that  the  portrait-painters 
and  coin-engravers  of  her  day  were  incompetent  or  disloyal.* 
But  if  rumour  spoke  truly,  Caesar  was  by  no  means  exclusive  in 
his  devotion  to  female  charms.  Her  son  was  named  Caesarion. 

When  at  length  Julius  Caesar  escaped  from  the  twofold 
entanglements  of  love  and  battle  at  Alexandria,  he  had  more 
fighting  still  before  he  could  make  the  earth  his  footstool.  He 
spent  a  few  days  in  Syria  to  arrange  the  affairs  of  the  East,  and 

*  Plate  22,  No.  2. 


among  other  things  gave  orders  to  build  up  the  wall  of  Jerusalem, 
which  had  been  thrown  down  by  the  orders  of  Pompeius.  Then 
he  passed  over  to  Asia  Minor,  and  at  Zela  crushed  the  rebellion 
of  a  Pontic  successor  of  Mithradates.  So  back  to  Italy  for  a 
few  weeks,  and  there  he  found  all  in  disorder,  and  his  legions, 
including  the  faithful  Tenth,  mutinying  for  their  pay.  He  settled 
the  disorder  at  Rome  by  his  mere  presence,  enacted  laws  to  relieve 
the  economic  distress  there,  and,  having  no  money  to  pay  his 
soldiers,  quelled  their  mutiny  by  sheer  sleight  of  speech.  Mean- 
while the  broken  Pompeians  had  gathered  in  thousands  at  the 
court  of  King  Juba,  who  himself  had  a  formidable  host.  As 
soon  as  he  could  find  time,  the  restless  conqueror  crossed  straight 
to  Africa  with  as  many  soldiers  as  he  could  muster,  leaving 
the  main  force  to  follow.  That  was  always  Caesar's  way — to 
dart  straight  upon  the  scene  of  danger  was  his  first  instinct. 
At  his  coming  the  marrow  oozed  out  of  the  very  bones  of  his 
foe.  He  had  a  Scipio  and  a  Cato,  and  a  host  of  notable  Romans 
arrayed  against  him.  At  Thapsus,  in  April  of  the  year  46,  he 
smote  them,  and  slew  (it  is  said)  fifty  thousand  men — fourteen 
legions  of  Romans.  There  at  Utica,  Cato  died  his  famous  Stoic 
death,  far  the  noblest  scene  of  his  mistaken  life,  and  so  became 
a  theme  for  the  glorification  of  Stoic  Republicanism  for  all 
time.  Afranius,  Scipio,  King  Juba,  Faustus  Sulla,  and  many 
others,  died  also.  A  few  stragglers  found  their  way  to  Spain, 
to  continue  the  fight  there  under  the  two  sons  of  Pompeius. 
Thither  in  the  next  year,  so  soon  as  he  had  leisure,  Caesar  fol- 
lowed them,  and  in  a  last  great  battle  at  Munda  he  finished  the 
resistance.  Only  Sextus  Pompeius  was  left  of  the  Pompeian 
party,  and  he  escaped  for  a  time  to  begin  an  interesting  career 
as  a  gentleman-pirate. 

In  this  manner  the  amazing  Caesar  conquered  the  world. 
Now  it  was  unquestionably  his.  What  was  he  to  make  of  it  ? 
This  story  has  been  told  in  vain  unless  it  has  shown  that  the 
city  of  Rome  was  rotten  to  the  core,  with  no  sound  elements 
left  in  it.  Caesar  himself  was  a  solitary  prodigy;  he  had  no 
supporters  worthy  of  his  confidence.  Labienus  had  deserted 


him,  Quintus  Cicero,  another  of  his  legates  in  Gaul,  had  also 
fought  against  him.  Mark  Antony  was  perhaps  his  right-hand 
man,  but  Antony  was  nothing  but  a  brilliant  orator  and  a  fair 
soldier;  of  character  or  reputation  he  had  not  a  shred.  Brutus, 
to  whom  Caesar  was  personally  devoted,  had  fought  against 
him,  and  was — in  spite  of  Shakespeare  and  republican  tradition 
— a  vain  and  shallow  egoist.  Caesar  had  no  brother  and  no 
legitimate  son.  Across  in  Apollonia  his  little  great-nephew 
Octavius  was  still  at  school.  Julius  Csesar  had  to  reorganise 
a  broken  world  alone.  For  a  hundred  years  there  had  been 
no  peace  in  Rome,  and  no  proper  government  in  the  empire. 
Every  year  of  its  lingering  agony,  the  Republic  had  drawn  closer 
to  the  inevitable  issue  in  Monarchy.  Even  Cicero,  when  he 
tried  to  console  himself  for  the  horrible  disorders  of  Roman 
life  by  depicting  an  ideal  commonwealth,  had  been  compelled 
to  build  it  round  ^princeps  who  should  maintain  order,  and  thus 
allow  liberty  to  exist.  In  practice  also  the  last  century  had 
seen  a  succession  of  "princes" — Gracchus,  Marius,  Cinna,  Sulla, 
Pompeius — all  from  the  necessity  of  the  case  forced  into  un- 
constitutional positions.  And  now  Csesar  had  succeeded  with- 
out a  rival.  Sulla  had  resigned  power,  and  his  work  had 
almost  immediately  fallen  to  pieces.  There  was  now,  even  more 
than  then,  no  chance  of  building  up  a  senatorial  party,  and  in- 
deed Csesar  had  been  the  lifelong  victim  of  senatorial  arrogance 
and  folly.  It  was  equally  impossible  to  build  up  a  Roman 
democracy  out  of  the  demoralised  loungers  in  the  forum. 

Obviously  monarchy  was  the  only  solution.  Csesar  was 
fifty-five  years  old,  spent  with  war  and  labour,  and,  as  I  have 
said,  quite  alone.  He  was  a  man  without  beliefs  or  illusions 
or  scruples.  Not  a  bad  man :  for  he  preferred  justice  and 
mercy  to  tyranny  and  cruelty,  and  he  had  a  passion  for  logic 
and  order.  He  was  not  the  sort  of  man  to  make  compromises. 
His  sudden  successes  had  taught  him  to  despise  his  enemies. 
He  was  not,  of  course,  ignorant  that  the  Romans  (if  there  were 
any  true  Romans  left)  had  it  in  their  blood  to  hate  the  title  of 
Rex.  Every  Roman  schoolboy  was  brought  up  to  declaim  in 


praise  of  regicides.  But  possibly  in  time  they  could  be 
accustomed  to  the  hideous  idea.  For  the  present,  old-fashioned 
titles  like  Dictator,  Consul,  and  Tribune  would  suffice.  But 
the  office  must  be  made  hereditary,  and  the  boy  Octavius  was 
already  marked  for  adoption  and  succession.  The  title  of  Rex 
could  wait.  Caesar  would  feel  his  way  gently. 

But  patience  was  not  one  of  his  virtues.  Actually  fortune 
only  left  him  less  than  two  years,  and  those  broken  by  tedious 
campaigns  in  the  Spanish  provinces,  for  the  regeneration  of 
Roman  society.  In  that  time  he  restored  the  finances, 
rearranged  the  provincial  system,  abolished  the  political  clubs 
which  had  been  centres  of  disorder  at  Rome,  reformed  the 
Calendar,  dedicated  a  new  forum  and  new  temples,  restored  and 
revised  the  senate,  founded  a  system  of  municipal  government 
for  Italy,  settled  his  veterans  on  the  land,  and  was  preparing  a 
great  expedition  to  chastise  the  Parthians. 

Most  of  these  acts  were  wisely  done,  but  in  one  thing 
Caesar  miscalculated.  His  brilliant  successes  and  the  adulation 
with  which  he  was  surrounded  led  him  to  despise  his  enemies. 
He  would  not  stoop  to  natter  antiquarian  prejudices  or  to  cast 
a  decent  veil  over  his  monarchical  position.  You  may  treat 
people  as  slaves  and  they  will  admire  you  for  it,  but  when  you 
call  them  slaves  they  will  begin  to  resent  it.  Caesar  failed  to 
rise  from  his  chair  to  receive  the  senators.  In  his  reformed 
senate  he  included  representatives  of  the  equestrian  class,  pro- 
vincials and  even  distinguished  soldiers  of  quite  humble  birth. 
He  allowed  his  statue  to  be  set  up  beside  the  Seven  Kings 
of  Rome.  He  accepted  a  gilt  chair,  he  permanently  retained 
the  triumphant  general's  laurel-crown,  partly  because  he  was 
bald  and  keenly  sensitive  about  it ;  and  then  either  through 
his  orders  or  by  their  own  orficiousness  his  friends  began  to 
throw  up  ballons  tfessai  in  the  direction  of  kingship.  At  the 
Lupercalia  Antony  offered  him  a  crown  of  gold.  It  was  spread 
abroad  that  an  ancient  Sibylline  prophecy  had  foretold  that  the 
Parthians  could  only  be  conquered  by  a  king  and  that  Caesar 
was  to  adopt  the  title  for  the  purpose  of  his  Eastern  expedition. 



It  was  trifles  like  these,  and  trivial  jealousies,  trivial  requests 
declined  in  the  name  of  justice,  that  led  to  the  great  con- 
spiracy. No  doubt  the  influence  of  rhetorical  patriotism 
had  its  effect  upon  many  of  the  conspirators.  An  unknown 
hand  wrote  "  O  that  thou  wert  living ! "  upon  the  statue  of 
old  Brutus  the  Liberator.  But  neither  Brutus  nor  Cassius 
deserves  our  admiration.  It  was  pique  not  patriotism  that 
sharpened  their  daggers.  Sixty  senators  conspired  together, 
and  on  the  eve  of  setting  out  for  Parthia — the  Ides  of  March, 
44  B.C. — Julius  Caesar  was  slain. 

And  then,  having  slain  the  tyrant  and  liberated  the  republic, 
the  patriots  were  helpless.  A  doctrinaire  like  Cicero  might 
still  dream  of  restoring  the  commonwealth  ;  but  the  only  real 
question  was  who  should  succeed.  The  people  only  cried  for 
peace.  It  was  not  so  much  the  speech  of  Mark  Antony  as  the 
funeral  of  Caesar,  cleverly  stage-managed  by  Calpurnia,  and 
the  genuine  sorrow  of  his  veterans,  which  gradually  turned  the 
popular  feeling  against  the  conspirators.  The  senate  did  not 
venture  to  declare  Caesar  a  tyrant,  they  confirmed  his  acts,  but 
there  was  no  proposal  to  punish  the  murderers.  The  whole 
conclusion  was  a  feeble  compromise. 

The  man  who  should  have  grasped  the  helm  was  Mark 
Antony.  He  was  left  sole  consul,  there  was  a  legion  and 
the  praetorian  cohort  under  arms  only  waiting  the  word. 
The  conspirators  had  only  a  few  gladiators  in  their  pay. 
Antony  had  every  right  to  arrest  them.  But  Antony  was  not 
the  man  for  the  part.  With  all  his  talents  his  character  was 
feeble.  He  was  always  dependent  on  his  surroundings  and 
generally  under  feminine  influence.  Once  it  had  been  the 
dancer  Cytheris,  at  present  it  was  the  aggressive  Fulvia ; 
for  a  time  Octavia  almost  reformed  him,  but  Cleopatra  easily 
ensnared  him.  He  was  a  rake  and  a  spendthrift,  always  in 
debt.  He  was  timid  of  public  opinion :  just  now  the  aristo- 
cratic society  in  which  he  moved  was  prating  of  tyrannicide. 
Antony  wanted  to  be  in  the  fashion.  There  were  dramatic 
embracements  between  Antony  and  Brutus. 


Now  the  testament  of  Caesar,  which  had  just  been  confirmed 
by  the  senate,  named  young  Gneius  Octavius  as  heir  to  three- 
quarters  of  his  estate.  At  the  end  of  the  will  was  a  codicil 
adopting  him.  Henceforth  until  he  gets  the  title  of  Augustus 
this  young  Caesar  must  be  called  Octavianus,  though  he  never 
accepted  that  name  for  himself.  The  "  second  heirs  "  named 
in  case  the  first  should  fail  or  decline  to  succeed  included 
D.  Brutus,  one  of  the  murderers,  and  Mark  Antony  himself. 
Whosoever  should  accept  the  heirship  would  be  bound  by  all 
Roman  ideas  of  honour  to  undertake  the  chastisement  of  the 
murderers.  Antony  seems  to  have  assumed  that  the  obscure 
young  man  would  not  be  likely  to  accept  the  inheritance.  He 
therefore  got  together  all  Caesar's  papers,  and  began  to  spend 
Caesar's  immense  fortune  as  only  Antony  could.  He  began 
also  to  manipulate  Caesar's  papers,  inserting  anything  he  liked 
among  Caesar's  "acts,"  selling  honours, raising  taxes,  recalling 
exiles  to  please  Fulvia.  For  some  time  no  one  ventured  to 
complain.  Leading  senators  like  Cicero  retired  to  the  country 
remarking  that  the  tyrant  was  dead  but  the  tyranny  still  alive. 
Then,  of  course,  Antony  had  to  provide  himself  with  a  province 
to  ensure  his  future  safety.  Moreover,  the  cry  of  the  veterans 
for  revenge  began  to  move  him  to  play  the  Caesarian.  Thus 
Antony  was  virtually  master  of  the  Roman  world  and  the  sky 
was  dark  with  menace. 

Into  this  dangerous  arena  steps  the  nineteen-year-old 
Octavian.  His  guardian  advised  him  to  have  nothing  to  do 
with  his  perilous  inheritance.  Historians  have  often  dubbed 
him  a  coward.  But  alone  and  unfriended  this  youth  left  his 
tutors  at  Apollonia  and  came  to  Rome  to  take  up  his  trust.  It 
meant,  first,  revenge  upon  the  conspirators;  and  secondly,  a 
quarrel  with  Antony.  It  meant,  in  fact,  two  more  civil  wars, 
and  Octavian  had  seen  nothing  of  warfare.  He  set  to  work 
coolly  and  warily.  There  was  still  a  magic  in  the  name  of 
Caesar,  and  the  veterans  rallied  to  him  and  besought  him  to 
march  against  Brutus  and  Cassius.  Part  of  his  duties  as 
executor  was  to  pay  a  million  sterling  in  donations  to  the 


Roman  people.  He  sold  his  property  and  began  to  distribute 
the  largess,  man  by  man,  tribe  by  tribe,  until  the  sum  was  paid. 
He  gave  magnificent  games  in  his  "  father's  "  honour,  with  the 
lucky  star  of  Julius  publicly  exhibited.  He  bought  an  army 
of  10,000  men  with  borrowed  money.  Two  of  Antony's 
legions  deserted  to  him  bodily,  and  the  very  veterans  of 
Antony's  bodyguard  offered  to  murder  their  general  if  young 
Caesar  would  give  the  signal. 

But  there  was  no  haste  in  his  method.  Antony  was  to  be 
used  first  and  then  destroyed.  Octavian  tried  for  a  time  to 
work  with  the  senate,  and  even  marched  against  Antony  under 
their  orders,  but  the  incredible  folly  of  the  senate,  who  were 
persuaded  by  Cicero  that  "the  boy"  was  negligible, drove  him 
into  the  famous  triple  alliance  of  Antony,  Octavian,  and 
Lepidus.  These  three  were  appointed  under  threat  of  their 
armies  to  a  kind  of  dictatorship  in  commission,  "  a  triumvirate 
to  reorganise  the  state."  Revenge  was  the  explicit  motive  of 
this  league.  They  began  with  the  usual  horrid  proscription  of 
all  the  senatorial  aristocrats  to  be  found  in  Rome.  This  was 
mainly  Antony's  work.  His  creditors,  his  enemies  and  his 
wife's  enemies  were  slain  wholesale,  and,  among  them,  Cicero. 
Eighteen  towns  of  Italy  were  destroyed  to  provide  lands  for  the 

Meanwhile  the  tyrannicides  had  gathered  in  the  East,  and 
now  Antony  and  the  young  Caesar  set  out  in  pursuit  of  them. 
In  the  two  battles  of  Philippi  the  luck  of  Octavian  and  the  skill 
of  Antony  triumphed  over  their  dispirited  adversaries.  Brutus 
and  Cassius  fell.  A  few  of  the  "  patriots  "  survived  and 
joined  Sextus  Pompeius  who  was  still  at  large  in  the  Medi- 
terranean. In  the  warfare  at  Philippi  Octavian's  inexperience 
and  real  want  of  talent  for  generalship  had  been  very  apparent 
in  contrast  to  Antony.  Lepidus  was  already  a  nonentity. 
Antony  went  off  to  the  East ;  and  while  he  was  holding  his 
court  of  justice  in  Cilicia  there  sailed  into  harbour  the  splendid 
royal  yacht  of  Cleopatra.  The  people  left  the  judgment  seat 
to  see  the  famous  Queen,  and  Antony  too  was  soon  at  her  feet. 


Signer  Ferrero  would  have  us  believe,  relying  partly  on  the 
mature  age  of  Cleopatra,  that  it  was  policy,  not  love,  which 
made  Antony  dally  at  Alexandria.  Policy  no  doubt  was  there, 
but  everything  that  we  know  of  Antony  leads  us  to  believe 
that  he  was  just  the  man  to  be  captured  by  a  celebrated 
courtesan,  particularly  if  she  were  also  a  queen.  Certainly  his 
sojourn  in  the  East  lowered  his  character  both  as  a  politician 
and  as  a  soldier. 

Octavian  had  to  face  Rome  and  the  West.  His  task  was 
full  of  perils  but  also  full  of  possibilities.  The  soldiers  were 
mutinous,  he  himself  was  grievously  sick,  and  the  redoubtable 
Fulvia,  who  was  her  husband's  real  agent  at  Rome,  very  soon 
perceived  that  he  was  an  enemy  to  be  fought.  Octavian  had  to 
fight  another  small  civil  war  at  Perugia  before  he  could  call  him- 
self master  even  of  Italy,  and  then  fight  Sextus  Pompeius  in  the 
Sicilian  waters.  Luckily  he  had  at  his  side  a  splendid  soldier — 
general  and  admiral  by  turns  as  were  all  good  Roman  fighting- 
men — Marcus  Vipsanius  Agrippa.*  He  had  also  as  his  agent 
at  Rome  Maecenas,  an  astute  diplomatist  and  man  of  business. 
So  though  he  himself  often  displayed  feebleness  and  was  often 
in  danger  he  accomplished  his  task  and  became  master  of  the 
West.  Thus  the  lordship  of  the  world  was  reduced  to  a 
plain  duel. 

Antony  had  actually  married  Cleopatra  after  Fulvia's 
death  and  Octavia's  divorce,  and  as  consort  of  the  Egyptian 
queen  reigned  in  Oriental  majesty.  He  had  marched  against 
the  Parthians  and  failed  ignominiously.  He  was  assigning 
provinces  and  princedoms  to  Cleopatra  and  her  dubious 
offspring.  It  was  easy  for  Octavian  to  represent  Antony  as 
a  renegade  Roman  threatening  to  introduce  Oriental  monarchy 
into  Rome.  When  at  last  it  came  to  the  final  civil  war 
Octavian  appeared  as  fighting  in  the  public  cause  of  Rome 
against  Egypt,  with  Antony  as  a  mere  deserter  on  the  Egyptian 
side.  The  great  naval  battle  of  Actium  (31  B.C.),  which 
decided  the  mastery  of  the  world  for  Octavian,  was  thus  a 

*  Plate  27. 

I  129 


triumph  for  the  Roman  arms  over  the  barbarians.  Actually  it 
was  a  degenerate  Antony  who  sailed  away  at  the  crisis  of  the 
battle  in  the  wake  of  the  queen's  yacht.  The  glory  of  the 
day  was  Agrippa's.  The  luck  as  usual  was  the  young  Caesar's. 
He  was  able  to  inaugurate  his  reign  at  Rome  by  presenting 
her  with  Egypt,  the  richest  country  in  the  world.  In  29  B.C. 
he  came  home  to  celebrate  a  glorious  triple  triumph  and  to 
open  a  new  era  as  the  first  Roman  Emperor. 


Such  is  a  brief  sketch  of  the  hundred  and  four  years  from 
the  day  when  Tiberius  Gracchus  first  arose  to  challenge  the 
senatorial  oligarchy  to  the  day  when  the  Empire  was  estab- 
lished upon  the  ruins  of  the  Republic.  It  is  perhaps  the  most 
terrible  century  in  the  history  of  the  world.  Rome  had  become 
the  centre  of  the  world,  the  only  hope  for  civilisation,  and 
Rome  was  filled  with  bloodshed  and  corruption.  For  the 
provinces  there  was  no  decent  government,  only  a  succession 
of  licensed  plunderers.  In  the  city  itself  there  was  a  long 
series  of  personal  struggles  for  the  mastery;  politics  meant 
organised  rioting  by  gangs  of  roughs,  questions  were  solved 
by  the  dagger  or  by  the  swords  of  senators.  At  intervals 
there  came  from  each  side  alternately  the  murderous  proscrip- 
tions, in  which  every  man  of  spirit  or  eminence  on  the 
opposing  side  was  marked  down  for  destruction.  Often  their 
sons  and  grandsons  perished  with  them,  and  in  any  case  their 
fortunes  were  destroyed.  Besides  the  proscriptions  there  had 
been  of  late  a  series  of  civil  wars  on  a  great  scale  in  which 
thousands  of  the  bravest  Romans  perished  by  each  other's 
swords.  A  successful  foreign  war  may  have  some  compensating 
effect  in  stiffening  the  moral  fibre  of  a  nation  and  exalting  its 
spirit.  But  civil  war  is  disastrous  in  every  way.  It  is  only 
the  meanest  who  survive  and  the  evil  passions  which  it 
arouses  have  no  compensation. 

In  such  a  period  it  is  wonderful  that  civilisation  should 
have  been  able  to  make  any  advances  at  all.     But  in  spite  of 



the  public  turmoil  private  citizens  were  amassing  enormous 
fortunes  out  of  the  plunder  of  the  world,  and  living,  though 
always  on  the  edge  of  a  volcano,  in  state  and  luxury  like 
kings.  It  is  now  our  task  to  see  something  of  private  life  and 
culture  in  the  Rome  of  the  expiring  Republic. 

Money  was  easily  made  in  those  days  and  lavishly  spent. 
Even  an  honest  man  like  Cicero,  governing  a  comparatively 
poor  province  like  Cilicia,  made  at  least  .£20,000  by 
his  year  of  office  while  he  remitted  to  the  provincials  a 
million,  which,  as  he  says,  any  governor  of  average  morality 
would  have  retained.  Legacies  were  a  very  frequent  source 
of  revenue  especially  to  pleaders,  and  it  was  customary  for  a 
rich  testator  at  Rome  to  make  large  bequests  to  his  friends. 
Cicero  gained  .£200,000  by  such  legacies.  Foreign  kings 
and  states  paid  handsomely  for  legal  advice  or  support. 
Although  a  barrister  was  supposed  to  give  his  services  for 
nothing  yet  gifts  and  legacies  were  not  refused.  For  the 
financier  or  business  man  there  were  many  channels  to  affluence. 
There  were  mines  all  over  the  empire  to  be  financed  and 
exploited.  Although  there  was  little  genuine  industry  at  Rome, 
yet  the  training  and  use  of  slaves  for  various  undertakings  was 
a  lucrative  business.  Crassus  trained  a  salvage  brigade  for 
Rome  and  went  about  to  fires  with  them  in  order  to  make  bids 
for  the  purchase  of  the  burning  property.  Atticus  trained  a 
company  of  copying  clerks  and  made  money  by  the  sale  of 
books.  He  also  kept  gladiators  and  hired  them  out  to 
magistrates  for  the  games.  Fortunes  were  made,  as  in  the 
case  of  Crassus,  by  buying  up  the  confiscated  property  of  the 
proscribed.  Land  speculation  was  rendered  extremely  profitable 
by  the  frequent  assignation  of  farm-lands  to  veteran  soldiers 
who  were  generally  glad  to  sell  them  at  once.  The  extravagance 
of  the  Roman  nobles  led  to  a  very  brisk  traffic  in  loans  at  high 
interest.  There  was  a  great  deal  of  genuine  commercial 
speculation  in  ships  and  cargoes,  generally  by  companies,  and 
Cato  advises  the  investor  to  put  his  money  in  fifty  different 
enterprises  rather  than  in  one  at  a  time.  Commerce  over-seas 


was,  however,  forbidden  to  the  senators  by  the  Claudian  law, 
and  these  speculated  chiefly  in  land,  on  which  they  made  a 
profit  by  slave-labour.  But  the  most  profitable  business  of  all 
was  tax-farming,  in  which  the  equestrian  classes  joined  together 
in  capitalist  rings.  In  these  and  other  ways  prodigious 
fortunes  were  accumulated.  The  stored-up  capital  of  the 
Roman  world  is  astounding  in  its  magnitude  compared  even 
to  that  of  modern  times.  The  real  property  of  Pompeius  sold 
f°r  .£700,000.  ^Esopus,  the  popular  actor,  left  .£200,000. 
After  the  most  lavish  donations  to  the  public  Crassus  left 
nearly  two  millions  sterling  by  will.  On  the  death  of  Caesar 
the  treasury  contained  eight  millions  in  bullion  of  which  a 
million  was  the  dictator's  own  property. 

But  all  the  wealth  of  the  Roman  empire  was  shared  by  a 
very  narrow  circle.  The  gulf  between  rich  and  poor  was  far 
deeper  than  it  is  to-day.  We  hear  of  poor  nobles  and  rich 
upstarts,  but  of  a  respectable  middle  class  with  traditions  of  its 
own  there  is  little  trace.  There  is  an  aristocracy  of  a  few 
thousand  families,  and  nothing  else  but  a  vast  proletariat,  silent 
and  hungry,  dependent  on  their  bounty,  bribed  with  money, 
bribed  with  free  corn,  and  bribed  with  bloody  spectacles.  They 
lived  miserably  in  huge  tenement  blocks  or  in  hovels  on  the 
outskirts  of  the  city.  The  only  career  open  to  them  was  in  the 
army,  and  that  was  chiefly  filled  by  the  stronger  rustics.  They 
had  nothing  to  do  but  lounge  in  the  streets,  gape  at  gladiators 
and  actors  and  shout  for  the  most  generous  politicians  of  the 
day.  No  doubt  there  were  honest  citizen  cobblers,  but  Roman 
history  is  silent  about  them. 

That  section  of  the  city  which  is  to  be  styled  Society  was  as 
proud  and  reckless  as  the  French  aristocracy  before  the  Revolu- 
tion. The  senate  had  now  become  almost  literally  a  hereditary 
rank.  A  child  born  into  one  of  these  princely  houses  was 
tended  by  a  multitude  of  slaves.  By  this  time  there  was  some 
attempt  at  a  liberal  education.  Attended  by  a  slave  pedagogue 
the  boy  would  go  daily  to  the  school  of  some  starved  Greek, 
who  would  teach  him  his  letters  and  his  figures.  The  staple 


of  education  was  the  delivery  of  artificial  declamation  on  the 
model  of  Isocrates  or  Demosthenes.  After  this  stage  a  young 
man  would  commonly  be  sent  abroad  to  Athens  or  Rhodes  to 
finish  his  education  with  a  little  philosophy  or  mathematics, 
but  chiefly  with  oratory.  Returned  to  Rome,  his  destiny  placed 
him  in  a  circle  of  foppish  youths,  who  devoted  their  principal 
attention  to  dress  and  manicure.  Bejewelled  and  scented,  they 
practised  every  vice,  natural  and  unnatural.  In  due  course, 
with  no  effort  but  a  few  bribes  from  the  parental  purse,  they 
became  priests  and  augurs,  thus  entering  what  were  in  reality 
aristocratic  dining-clubs.  Dining  was  now  the  principal  art  of 
Rome.  Macrobius  has  preserved  the  menu  of  one  of  these 
priestly  dinners  of  the  Republic,  at  which  the  priests  and  vestals 
were  present.  The  party  began  with  a  prolusion  like  the 
Russian  or  Swedish  system  of  hors  d'ceuvres,  in  which  seven- 
teen dishes  of  fish  and  game  were  presented.  The  dinner 
itself  contained  ten  more  courses,  "  sow's  udder,  boar's  head, 
fish-pasties,  boar-pasties,  ducks,  boiled  teals,  hares,  roasted 
fowls,  starch-pastry,  Pontic-pastry."  Such  was  the  State  religion 
of  Rome  in  the  first  century  before  Christ.  At  intervals  the  young 
noble's  father's  friends  would  invite  him  to  join  their  staff  on 
foreign  service.  If  he  had  the  good  fortune  to  serve  with 
Pompeius  or  Lucullus  in  the  East  or  with  Caesar  in  Gaul,  he 
might  get  a  taste  of  real  manliness,  and  serve  his  country  as 
tribune  of  the  soldiers.  But  more  often  in  a  peaceful  province 
like  Sicily  or  Africa  he  was  merely  initiated  into  the  arts  of  ex- 
tortion, and  enjoyed  all  the  vicious  opportunities  of  the  younger 
sons  of  princes.  Thus  fortified  by  experience  he  would  return  to 
Rome  to  seek  the  suffrages  of  his  fellow-citizens  for  the  quaestor- 
ship,  the  first  rung  on  the  ladder  of  office.  Votes  were  to  be  won 
by  bribery,  direct  or  indirect.  One  candidate  would  spread  a 
banquet  for  a  whole  tribe ;  another  would  seek  to  outshine  his 
rivals  by  providing  strange  beasts  from  Africa — among  Cicero's 
correspondence  there  is  an  urgent  appeal  for  Cilician  panthers 
to  be  slain  in  the  arena — or  by  dressing  his  gladiators  in 
silver  arniour.  Similar  requirements  accompanied  his  progress 



through  all  the  stages  of  office  on  a  progressively  lavish  scale. 
As  quaestor  he  would  be  a  judge  or  a  comptroller  of  the  treasury 
for  a  single  year.  Then  as  sedile  he  would  conduct  the  public 
festivals,  preside  in  the  aedile's  court,  control  the  markets  and 
streets  of  Rome.  So  he  rose  to  be  consul,  commander  of 
legions  and  president  of  the  state,  and  then  in  due  course 
governor  of  an  enormous  province.  From  his  quaestorship 
onwards  his  seat  in  the  senate  was  assured. 

In  his  home  the  noble  Roman  lived  like  a  king,  waited  upon 
by  an  enormous  retinue.  There  was  much  luxury  and  little 
comfort.  The  houses  of  the  Romans  were  on  a  far  more  luxu- 
rious scale  than  those  of  the  Greeks.  The  only  genuine  Roman 
taste  that  can  be  called  liberal  was  the  hobby  of  collecting 
beautiful  town  houses  and  country  seats.  Cicero,  who  was  a 
man  of  modest  income  and  tastes,  seems  to  have  possessed 
about  eighteen  different  estates,  and  gave  nearly  .£30,000  for 
his  town  house.  The  qualities  prized  in  the  choice  of  a 
mansion  were  space  and  coolness,  and  the  Romans  of  this  age 
were  by  no  means  insensible  to  the  charms  of  scenery.  The 
coast  round  Naples  and  Baiae  was  dotted  with  sumptuous 
villas,  and  the  gay  world  spent  its  summer  there  in  much  the 
same  way  as  the  cosmopolitan  crowds  at  Biarritz.  Besides  his 
great  town  house  and  his  family  mansion  at  Arpinum,  and  his 
country  houses  at  Tusculum  and  elsewhere,  Cicero  had  marine 
villas  all  along  the  coast  at  Antium,  Formiae,  Cumse,  Puteoli, 
and  Pompeii,  and  all  along  the  Campanian  road  were  his  private 
"  inns,"  where  he  lodged  on  his  journeys.  His  favourite  villa 
was  the  one  at  Tusculum,  the  scene  of  many  of  his  literary 
labours,  and  among  others  of  the  famous  Tusculan  Disputa- 
tions. It  had  previously  belonged  to  Sulla,  and  was  adorned 
with  paintings  in  commemoration  of  Sulla's  victories.  It  was 
situated  on  the  top  of  a  hill  along  with  many  other  villas  of  the 
aristocracy,  and  commanded  a  delightful  view  of  the  city  about 
twelve  miles  away.  The  park  attached  to  it  was  extensive,  and 
through  it  there  ran  a  broad  canal.  He  had  books  everywhere, 
but  his  principal  library  was  deposited  at  Antium.  At  Puteoli 



he  constructed  a  cloister  and  a  grove  on  the  model  of  Plato's 

The  principal  feature  of  the  Roman  house  was  its  large 
colonnaded  hall,  with  a  roof  open  in  the  middle  to  admit  light 
and  air.  This  roof  sloped  inwards,  and  allowed  the  rain  to  fall 
into  a  central  tank,  delightful  for  coolness,  no  doubt,  but  prob- 
ably very  unwholesome.'  In  old  days  the  atrium  had  been  the 
common  room  of  the  Roman  family.  It  still  retained  a  sym- 
bolical marriage-bed,  a  symbolical  spinning-wheel,  the  portraits 
of  the  ancestors,  and  the  ceremonial  altar  to  the  family  gods, 
who  were  now  stored  away  in  a  cupboard  close  at  hand.  Most 
of  the  rooms  opened  directly  out  of  the  atrium.  As  they  are 
seen  in  the  ruins  of  Roman  villas,  they  appear  to  have  been 
comparatively  small  and  ill-lighted.  The  larger  houses  them- 
selves were  generally  built  of  local  limestone  with  facings  of 
stucco,  though  the  greater  part  of  Rome  was  still  in  this  first 
century  B.C.  constructed  of  sun-baked  bricks.  It  was  con- 
sidered unheard-of  luxury  when  Mamurra  faced  his  walls  with 
marble  slabs.  The  floors  were  generally  tessellated.  It  was  an 
innovation  of  the  Roman  architect  to  build  houses  of  three  or 
more  stories,  but  it  was  probably  only  a  starveling  poet  who 
would  live  on  the  fourth  floor.  A  noble's  house  would  spread 
over  the  ground  regardless  of  space,  but  the  bedrooms  and 
sometimes  the  dining-room  were  upstairs.  Externally  the 
Roman  house  was  a  little  finer  than  the  Greek,  being  fronted 
with  a  pillared  forecourt  and  a  dwelling  for  the  concierge.  At 
the  back  the  atrium  opened  into  a  colonnaded  garden  with  a 
fountain,  flower-beds,  and  shrubbery. 

As  the  Roman's  house  was  built  mainly  with  a  view  to 
coolness,  so  his  daily  life  was  that  of  a  southerner.  Rome  was 
never  a  healthy  city  in  the  summer,  and  all  who  could  afford  it 
fled  to  the  country  or  the  sea-side.  Almost  every  Roman 
known  to  us  in  literature  was  either  an  invalid  or  a  valetudina- 
rian. Malarial  fever  in  its  periodic  form  was  very  widely 
spread,  and  most  of  our  distinguished  friends  pursued  a 
medical  regimen.  Ceesar  was  subject  to  fits  of  epilepsy,  Cicero 



was  of  weak  constitution,  Horace  was  a  martyr  to  ophthalmia 
as  well  as  malaria,  Augustus  was  always  ailing  and  often  at 
death's  door.  The  Roman's  most  amiable  idiosyncrasy  was  his 
devotion  to  the  bath.  Every  considerable  house  had  an  elabo- 
rate bathing  department  with  at  least  a  hot  room  built  over  a 
furnace,  and  a  cold  room  with  a  swimming-tank.  But  there  were 
also  public  baths,  on  an  ever-increasing  scale  of  magnificence. 
Agrippa  alone  built  170  of  them  at  Rome.  Rich  and  poor  alike 
made  it  their  daily  practice  to  bathe  after  exercise,  just  before  their 
principal  meal  in  the  early  afternoon.  The  custom  of  the  noon- 
tide siesta  was  universal,  except  with  prodigies  of  industry  like 
Cicero.  A  great  deal  of  time  was  spent  in  lounging  abroad 
through  the  streets  or  under  shady  colonnades.  The  streets  of 
Rome,  as  of  all  ancient  cities,  were  extremely  narrow,  but  in 
the  busy  parts  of  the  city  all  wheeled  traffic  was  forbidden. 

The  wealthy  Romans  have  a  name  for  abominable  luxury 
and  gluttony.  As  to  the  general  question  of  its  influence  in 
destroying  the  morality  of  Rome  I  have  already  ventured  to 
express  disbelief  in  the  popular  view.  From  all  that  we  read, 
it  does  not  appear  that  the  ordinary  Roman  was  naturally 
addicted  to  intemperance  either  in  eating  or  drinking.  The 
praise  of  wine  is  with  Horace  a  literary  pose;  personally  he 
had  a  poor  head  and  a  poor  stomach.  The  Italian  is  not,  and 
probably  never  was  a  great  natural  eater  or  drinker  judged  by 
northern  standards.  But  rhetoricians  and  satirists  have  de- 
lighted to  dwell  upon  the  immensity  of  Roman  dinner-parties 
which  often  lasted  all  day  and  included  a  hideous  series  of 
curious  and  exotic  dainties.  This  was  the  form  which,  in 
default  of  any  nobler  ideals,  wealth  at  Rome  had  chosen  for  its 
display.  Time  hung  heavily  on  this  slave-tended  aristocracy : 
to  dine  from  dawn  to  daylight  was  one  of  the  ways  of  killing 
it.  So  the  guests  reclined  on  their  couches,  dancers  jigged 
before  them,  musicians  played,  occasionally  a  tumbler  or  a 
tight-rope  walker  would  appear,  in  literary  households  a  slave 
would  read  philosophy ;  and  all  the  time  the  soft-footed  slaves 
were  coming  and  going  with  dishes  of  strange  morsels  gathered 



from  the  ends  of  the  earth,  and  rare  wines  from  the  four  corners 
of  the  globe.  A  dish  of  nightingales'  tongues  is  not  the  sort 
of  thing  to  please  one  who  is  a  gourmet  by  conviction  or 
natural  taste.  Eating  was  for  most  of  these  poor  starved 
imaginations  the  only  form  of  culture  they  understood.  It  was, 
however,  conducted  with  tremendous  ceremony.  There  was  a 
"  tricliniarch "  to  marshal  his  "  decuries "  of  slaves  as  each 
dish  came  into  the  room.  There  was  a  special  "  structor  "  to 
arrange  the  dishes,  a  special  "  analecta "  to  pick  up  the  frag- 
ments that  the  diners  dropped.  Carving  was  a  science  with 
various  branches,  as  in  old  England,  and  the  skilful  carver 
had  his  scheme  of  gesticulations  for  each  kind  of  dish.  There 
was  another  slave  specially  appointed  to  cry  out  the  name 
and  quality  of  each  plat.  In  addition  to  these  every  guest  had 
his  own  footman  standing  behind  his  couch.  The  most  charac- 
teristic and  the  most  unpleasant  feature  of  a  Roman  banquet 
was  the  manner  in  which  the  diners  assisted  nature  to  provide 
them  with  an  appetite.  Even  Julius  Caesar  "took  his  vomit" 
both  before  and  after  his  dinner-party  with  Cicero. 

The  public  shows,  which  formed  the  chief  recreation 
of  rich  and  poor  alike,  grew  yearly  more  brutal  and  bloody. 
As  they  were  the  means  by  which  ambitious  candidates  for 
office  sought  to  canvass  popularity,  the  principal  aim  was  to 
present  something  novel  and  startling.  No  doubt  the  more 
refined  spectators  regarded  the  butchery  of  wild  beasts  or  paid 
gladiators  with  disgust,  but  the  populace  at  large  only  shouted 
for  more  blood.  Five  hundred  lions  were  slaughtered  on  one 
day  at  the  triumphal  games  given  by  Pompeius.  Cicero  writes 
that  the  wholesale  destruction  of  elephants  in  the  arena  actually 
moved  the  people  to  pity.  There  were  still  some  real  theatrical 
performances  in  Rome.  Actors  and  mimics,  indeed,  if  they  were 
handsome  and  graceful,  made  large  fortunes.  Most  Roman 
nobles  of  a  literary  bent  amused  themselves  with  writing 
tragedies.  Cicero's  soldier  brother  composed  four  on  a  fort- 
night's journey  to  Gaul.  But  these  were  only  employed  to  bore 
one's  friends  at  dinner.  Original  literary  dramas  were  even 



less  often  staged  at  Rome  than  they  are  in  London.  Plautus 
and  Terence  for  comedy,  and  Pacuvius,  Attius,  and  Ennius  for 
tragedy,  had  already  become  classics  and  were  still  regularly 
performed.  The  drama  died  stillborn  at  Rome. 

Historians  of  Rome,  fortified  by  Juvenal  and  Petronius,  love 
to  depict  the  vices  of  the  emperors  and  the  imperial  period. 
The  later  Republic  can  show  us  a  morality  no  more  exalted. 
The  fragments  of  Varro's  satires  written  in  the  heyday  of  the 
Republic  are  in  precisely  the  same  strain  of  despondency  as 
are  the  satires  of  Juvenal.  For  him,  too,  virtue  is  a  thing  of 
the  past.  Sober  fact  compels  us  to  see  that  the  aristocratic 
society  of  Republican  Rome  was  hideously  immoral.  Volun- 
tary celibacy  and  "  race-suicide  "  were  already  rife.  The  family 
was  a  decaying  institution,  divorce  was  common,  and  the 
sterility  of  wickedness  had  long  been  at  work  to  sap  the  ranks 
of  the  nobility.  Even  Cicero  divorced  his  wife  Terentia  upon 
a  trivial  pretext  after  a  long  period  of  happy  conjugal  life  in 
order  to  marry  an  heiress.  Csesar  had  four  wives  of  his  own,  not 
to  mention  Cleopatra,  without  begetting  a  single  legitimate  son. 
Cato,  the  strict  censor  of  morals,  having  been  jilted  in  his  youth, 
married  a  wife,  divorced  her  for  adultery  after  she  had  borne 
him  two  sons,  married  another,  lent  her  for  six  years  to  the 
orator  Hortensius,  and  on  his  death  resumed  her  again.  Mark 
Antony  married  Fadia,  then  Antonia,  then  divorced  her  and 
lived  publicly  with  Cytheris  the  actress,  then  married 
Fulvia,  who  had  already  been  twice  a  widow,  then  married 
Octavia,  then  Cleopatra.  These  marriages  were  made  and 
dissolved  freely  for  political  reasons.  A  large  part  of  Roman 
politics  was  carried  on  in  the  salons  of  the  Roman  ladies,  and  if 
half  of  what  Cicero  alleges  be  true  Messalina  herself  had  her 
republican  prototypes  in  women  like  Clodia  and  Fulvia.  Beside 
almost  promiscuous  relations  between  the  sexes,  the  darker 
forms  of  Oriental  vice  were  extremely  fashionable  among  the 
gilded  youth  of  Rome. 

Religion  was  almost  purely  formal  or  political.  Augur- 
ships  and  priesthoods  still  existed  as  the  perquisite  of  aristo- 



cratic  families.  People  still  uttered  the  formulae  of  oaths  and 
vows.  There  was  still  some  belief  in  omens  and  prodigies, 
the  altars  still  smoked  with  sacrifice  when  triumphant  generals 
went  up  to  the  capitol,  but  few  prayers  ascended  to  Jupiter  in 
sincerity.  Instead  the  importation  of  strange  deities  continued. 
Again  and  again  in  this  first  century  before  Christ  the  senate 
tried  to  expel  the  worship  of  Isis  from  the  precincts  of  Rome, 
but  it  always  returned,  and  eventually  the  triumvirs  built  a 
temple  to  Isis  and  Serapis  as  a  measure  to  court  popular  favour. 
The  Magna  Mater  of  the  Phrygian  corybants  had  long  been 
firmly  established  at  Rome. 

I  think  it  was  general  materialism  and  immorality  which 
killed  the  old  State  religion  at  Rome.  Greek  philosophy  had 
generally  been  able  to  exist  amicably  by  the  side  of  religion. 
It  now  came  in  to  fill  up  the  gap  left  by  the  absence  of  real 
religious  feeling.  But  at  Rome,  though  Stoicism  afterwards 
became  a  powerful  force  of  inspiration  to  the  noblest  minds, 
philosophy  was  in  the  main  a  form,  of  literary  activity  for 
dilettantists.  Cato  of  Utica  was  a  Stoic  by  temperament 
before  he  became  one  by  doctrine.  Cicero  amused  his  leisure 
by  recasting  and  combining  the  doctrines  of  the  leading  Greek 
schools  in  a  Roman  form  of  dialogue,  in  imitation  of  Plato;  but 
with  him  it  was  more  of  a  literary  exercise  than  anything  else, 
and  Cicero  has  added  little  or  nothing  to  the  world's  stock  of 
philosophical  ideas.  Only  in  the  poet  Lucretius  does  the  fire 
of  philosophy  burn  with  genuine  ardour.  Lucretius  had  before 
him  the  task  of  proselytising  at  Rome  for  the  doctrines  of 
Epicurus  and  Democritus.  People  accustomed  to  the  modern 
associations  of  the  word  "  epicure "  may  wonder  what  there 
was  to  arouse  the  enthusiasm  of  a  poet  in  the  philosophy  of 
Epicurus.  That  creed  offered  a  rational  explanation  of  the 
universe.  With  its  theory  of  spontaneous  atomic  creation, 
and  its  surprising  foreknowledge  of  some  at  least  of  the  ideas 
of  natural  selection  and  evolution,  it  claimed  to  satisfy  the 
intellect  of  mankind  and  to  drive  out  all  the  grovelling  super- 
stition and  empty  rites  which  had  usurped  at  Rome,  as  they 



tend  to  do  always  and  everywhere,  the  throne  of  religion.  All 
the  enthusiasm  with  which  the  nineteenth  century  approached 
the  new  discoveries  of  science  glowed  in  the  heart  of  this 
rugged  poet  of  the  first  century  before  Christ.  "Voluptas" 
was  his  only  goddess,  but  it  was  no  vulgar  pleasure  of  the  body 
upon  earth.  It  was  the  spirit  soaring  to  freedom  and  know- 
ledge. This  atheist  Epicurean  is,  in  the  true  sense  of  the 
word,  the  most  religious  of  all  poets.  He  explains  the  nature 
of  lightning  in  order  that  his  fellow-creatures  may  not  live  in 
fear  of  thunderbolts.  He  explains  with  the  same  confident 
logic  the  nature  of  death  in  order  that  they  may  not  fear  the 
natural  resolution  of  body  and  soul  into  their  primordial  atoms. 
He  is  moved  almost  to  tears  by  the  folly  and  sorrow  of  his 
brother-men.'and  he  pleads  with  them  to  suffer  the  sacred  lamp 
of  philosophy  to  shine  upon  their  darkened  minds : 

at  nisi  purgatum  est  pectus,  quae  praelia  nobis 
atque  pericula  sunt  ingratis  insinuandum  ? 
quantae  turn  scindunt  hominem  cupedinis  acres 
sollicitum  curse?     quantique  perinde  timores? 
quidue  superbia,  spurcitia  ac  petulantia,  quantas 
efficiunt  cladeis  ?     quid  luxus,  desidiaeque  ? 
haec  igitur  qui  cuncta  subegerit,  ex  animoque 
expulerit  dictis,  non  armis,  nonne  decebit 
hunc  hominem  numero  diuom  dignarier  esse  ?  * 

His  doctrine  is  medicine  for  the  feverish  unrest  of  the  day : 

exit  saepe  foras  magnis  ex  aedibus  ille 
esse  domi  quern  perteesum  est,  subitoque  reuentat ; 
quippe  foris  nihilo  melius  qui  sentiat  esse. 
currit  agens  mannos  ad  uillam  praecipitanter 
auxilium  tectis  quasi  ferre  ardentibus  instans : 
oscitat  extemplo  tetigit  quom  limina  uillae 

*  But  unless  the  breast  is  cleared,  what  battles  and  dangers  must  then  find 
their  way  into  us  in  our  own  despite !  What  poignant  cares  inspired  by  lust 
then  rend  the  distrustful  man,  and  then  also  what  mighty  fears !  and  pride, 
filthy  lust,  and  wantonness !  what  disasters  they  occasion,  and  luxury  and  all 
sorts  of  sloth !  He  therefore  who  shall  have  subdued  all  these  and  banished 
them  from  the  mind  by  words,  not  arms,  shall  he  not  have  a  just  title  to  be 
ranked  among  the  gods?  (V.  43-51,  Munro's  translation,) 






aut  abit  in  somnum  grauis,  atque  obliuia  quserit, 
aut  etiam  properans  urbem  petit  atque  reuisit. 
hoc  se  quisque  modo  fugit  .  .  .* 

He  has  a  compassionate  scorn  for  the  mourner : 

aufer  abhinc  lacrumas,  barathre,  et  compesce  querelas  .  .  . 

cedit  enim  rerum  nouitate  extrusa  uetustas 

semper  et  ex  aliis  aliud  reparare  necesse  est ; 

nee  quisquam  in  barathrum,  nee  Tartara  deditur  alta. 

materies  opus  est  ut  crescant  postera  saecla ; 

quae  tamen  omnia  te,  uita  perfuncta,  sequentur : 

nee  minus  ergo  ante  haec  quam  tu  cecidere  cadentque. 

sic  alid  ex  alio  nunquam  desistet  oriri ; 

uitaque  mancipio  nulli  datur,  omnibus  usu.  f 

Death  has  no  sting  for  him : 

num  quid  ibi  horribile  apparet  ?     num  triste  uidetur 
quidquam  ?     non  omni  somno  securius  exstat  ?  J 

Lucretius  was,  of  course,  set  down  by  Cicero,  as  was  Shake- 
speare by  Dryden,  as  being  rude  and  unpolished.  His  poem 
is  indeed  sheer  didactic  argument  with  occasional  digres- 
sions, and  he  strings  his  points  together  with  the  bald  transi- 
tional words  and  phrases  of  argumentative  prose.  But  in 

*  The  man  who  is  sick  of  home  often  issues  forth  from  his  large  mansion,  and 
as  suddenly  comes  back  to  it,  finding  as  he  does  that  he  is  no  better  off  abroad. 
He  races  to  his  country  house,  driving  his  jennets  in  headlong  haste,  as  if 
hurrying  to  bring  help  to  a  house  on  fire ;  he  yawns  the  moment  he  has  reached 
the  door  of  his  house,  or  sinks  heavily  into  sleep  and  seeks  forgetfulness,  or 
even  in  haste  goes  back  again  to  town.  In  this  way  each  man  flies  from 
himself.  (III.  1060-8,  Munro's  translation.) 

t  Away  from  this  time  forth  with  thy  tears,  rascal ;  a  truce  to  thy  com- 
plainings. .  .  .  For  old  things  give  way  and  are  supplanted  by  new  without  fail, 
and  one  thing  must  ever  be  replenished  out  of  other  things;  and  no  one  is 
delivered  over  to  the  pit  and  black  Tartarus.  Matter  is  needed  for  after 
generations  to  grow,  all  of  which,  though,  will  follow  thee  when  they  have  finished 
their  term  of  life ;  and  thus  it  is  that  all  these  no  less  than  thou  have  before  this 
come  to  an  end  and  hereafter  will  come  to  an  end.  Thus  one  thing  will  never 
cease  to  rise  out  of  another ;  and  life  is  granted  to  none  in  fee-simple,  to  all  in 
usufruct.  (III.  955,  964-71,  Munro's  translation.) 

I  Is  there  aught  in  this  that  looks  appalling,  aught  that  wears  an  aspect  of 
gloom?  Is  it  not  more  untroubled  than  any  sleep?  (III.  976-7,  Munro's 



virility  of  thought  and  expression,  even  in  majesty  of  sound 
and  force  of  vivid  imagery,  he  is,  when  he  cares  to  be,  on 
a  plane  quite  above  and  away  from  the  ordinary  sphere  of 
classic  Latin  poetry.  Almost  alone  among  Roman  writers  he 
has  a  message  of  his  own  to  deliver.  His  fellow-countrymen 
thought  little  of  him,  and  failed  to  preserve  any  details  of  his 
biography.  The  monks  of  the  Middle  Ages  consigned  him  to 
the  hell  he  had  flouted,  and  Jerome  provided  him,  five  hundred 
years  after  his  death,  with  an  end  edifying  to  piety,  but  quite 
incredible  to  any  one  who  has  read  his  work  with  sympathy. 
He  was  said  to  have  died  of  a  love  potion,  and  to  have  com- 
posed his  poem  in  the  intervals  of  delirium.  He  appears  to 
have  lived  between  100  and  50  B.C. 

In  addition  to  the  tragedies  and  epics  which  noblemen  threw 
off  as  an  elegant  pastime  for  their  superfluous  leisure  hours, 
love-poetry,  pasquinades,  and  vers  de  soctitt  travelled  merrily 
from  salon  to  salon.  If  Lucretius  carries  the  heaviest  metal  of 
Latin  poets,  Catullus  has  by  far  the  lightest  touch.  He  writes 
with  an  ease  which  makes  Horace  seem  laboured,  and  with  a 
simplicity  which  makes  Propertius  and  even  Ovid  look  like 
pedants,  though  Catullus  himself,  like  all  Romans,  thought  fit 
occasionally  to  adopt  the  classical  pose,  and  fill  his  verses  with 
learned  allusions.  If  it  were  not  for  the  influence  of  the  school- 
room, to  which  most  of  Catullus's  work  is  for  the  best  of  reasons 
unknown,  he  would  be  recognised  as  possessing  far  more  of  the 
vital  spark  of  poetry  than  Horace.  Roman  culture,  being  mainly 
second-hand,  is  almost  entirely  lacking  in  the  quality  of  fresh 
youth  which  we  enjoy  in  such  writers  as  Chaucer  and  the  early 
Elizabethan  singers.  Catullus,  therefore,  the  earliest  important 
lyric  poet  of  Rome,  is  by  no  means  unsophisticated.  On  the 
contrary,  he  is  a  clever  son  of  the  forum — a  boulevardier,  one 
might  say — with  a  pretty  but  savage  wit  in  reviling  democrats 
like  Csesar  and  Mamurra.  But,  with  his  truly  Italian  scurrility, 
he  combines  the  quintessence  of  Italian  charm.  When  the  in- 
spiration takes  him  he  is  simple,  direct,  and  natural.  Indeed, 
the  shorter  poems  of  Catullus  seem  to  me  to  reveal  more  of  the 

w  *• 

PLATK  XXII.     COIN   I'l-ATK   I 


essential  Roman  than  all  the  rest  of  Roman  literature  put 
together.  We  have  the  innocent  pleading  of  the  April  lover  in : 

soles  occidere  et  redire  possunt : 

nobis  cum  semel  occidit  breuis  lux 

nox  est  perpetua  una  dormienda. 

da  mi  basia  mille,  deinde  centum, 

dein  mille  altera,  dein  secunda  centum, 

deinde  usque  altera  mille,  deinde  centum.* 

and  the  awful  simplicity  of  his  wrath  at  betrayal : 

Cseli,  Lesbia  nostra,  Lesbia  ilia, 
ilia  Lesbia,  quam  Catullus  unam 
plus  quam  se  atque  suos  amavit  omnes, 
nunc  in  quadriuiis  et  angiportis 
glubit  magnanimi  Remi  nepotes. 

We  have  a  more  genuine-sounding  love  of  nature  in  his  praises 
of  Sirmio,  and  a  more  natural  pathos  in  the  famous  lament  for 
his  brother,  than  any  other  Latin  poet  can  give  us.  In  one 
species  of  composition,  the  Epithalamium,  he  is  supreme.  For 
example : 

flere  desine,  non  tibi  Au- 

runculeia,  periculum  est 

nequa  femina  pulchrior 

clarum  ab  Oceano  diem 

uiderit  uenientem. 

talis  in  uario  solet 
diuitis  domini  hortulo 
stare  flos  hyacinthinus. 
sed  moraris,  abit  dies : 
prodeas,  noua  nupta. 

prodeas,  noua  nupta,  si 
iam  uidetur,  et  audias 

*  Suns  may  set  and  rise  again ;  for  us,  when  once  our  brief  day  has  waned, 
there  is  one  long  night  to  be  slept  through.  Give  me  a  thousand  kisses,  and 
then  a  hundred,  and  another  thousand,  and  a  hundred  to  follow  yea,  and 
another  thousand— and  yet  a  hundred  !  (Carmen,  V.  4-9.) 


nostra  uerba.     uiden?  faces 
aureas  quatiunt  comas : 
prodeas  noua  nupta.* 

The  music  of  this,  with  its  beautiful  imagery  and  refrains,  is 
no  doubt  based  upon  an  Alexandrian  foundation.  There  is  a 
distinct  echo  of  Theocritus.  But  it  is  also  distinctively  Italian, 
and  the  greatest  of  modern  Italian  poets,  Carducci,  writes  like 
a  legitimate  descendant  of  Catullus.  Catullus  has  as  little 
biography  as  Lucretius.  He  must  have  died  at  an  early  age  in 
the  fifties  B.C.  He  was  a  poor  man.  He  had  only  a  town  house 
and  two  villas,  one  on  the  Lago  di  Garda  and  one  at  Tivoli. 
He  hated  Caesar  and  loved  Cicero.  That  his  "Lesbia"  was 
the  infamous  Clodia  is  generally  asserted.  I  do  not  believe  it. 

These  two  poets,  Lucretius  and  Catullus,  then,  stand  almost 
alone  as  representatives  of  Republican  Roman  literature  on  the 
poetical  side.  Both  are  Romanising  various  Alexandrian 
Greek  modes,  but  both  have  something  genuinely  Roman,  a 
quality  which  we  may  best  describe  as  virility,  to  add  to  their 
originals.  This  was  the  point  from  which  a  genuine  Roman 
literature  might  have  taken  its  departure.  Instead  of  that,  the 
next  era  is  that  of  a  courtly  school  of  classicists,  largely  writing 
to  order,  who  gave  to  Latin  its  distinctively  classical  bent. 

Cicero,  the  most  classical  of  all  classics,  is,  however,  far  the 
greatest  literary  product  of  the  Republic.  He  is,  indeed,  far 
too  vast  a  figure  for  these  modest  pages.  By  his  colossal  in- 
dustry and  immense  fertility  of  genius  his  influence  dominates 
the  whole  field  of  Latin  prose  literature.  He  is  not  only  the 
greatest  of  all  orators,  but  he  stands  as  the  type  of  the  orator 
in  life  as  in  literature.  We  of  this  generation,  who  live  in  the 
eclipse  of  rhetoric,  do  not  find  it  easy  to  be  just  to  him.  With 
such  gifts  of  eloquence,  such  a  power  of  uttering  tremendous 

*  Cease  to  weep,  Aurunculeia  :  Thou  need'st  not  fear  that  any  lovelier  maid 
should  see  the  bright  day  coming  from  Ocean. 

Even  so  the  hyacinth  is  wont  to  bloom  in  the  rich  man's  many-coloured 
garden.  But  thou  lingerest.  The  day  is  passing.  Come  forth,  thou  bride. 

Come  forth,  thou  bride,  now  if  it  please  thee,  and  hear  our  songs.  Look  how 
the  torches  shake  their  golden  hair  !  Come  forth,  thou  bride. 




phrases  about  duty  and  patriotism,  we  cannot  but  feel  affronted 
at  his  political  incapacity.  Mommsen,  who  is  all  for  action, 
peppers  him  with  contemptuous  expressions — "a  statesman 
without  insight,  opinion  or  purpose";  "a  short-sighted 
egoist";  "a  journalist  of  the  worst  description";  "his 
lawyer's  talent  of  finding  excuses — or,  at  any  rate,  words — for 
everything."  And,  indeed,  among  men  like  Caesar  with  legions 
at  their  backs,  or  creatures  like  Clodius  with  their  packs  of 
hooligans,  a  man  of  golden  words  and  honest  principles  does 
cut  a  sorry  figure  on  the  pages  of  history — so  much  the  worse 
for  history !  He  had,  as  we  have  seen,  a  policy,  his  talents  made 
him  a  leader  among  the  moderates  of  the  senate,  and  his 
character  made  him  genuinely  popular  among  all  the  more 
respectable  classes  of  society.  But  Rhetoric  is  one  of  the 
feminine  Muses,  and  Cicero's  nature  was  as  soft  and  sympa- 
thetic as  a  woman's.  So  he  turns  his  coat  at  a  word  from 
Pompeius,  utters  brave  words  one  day  and  eats  them  on  the 
next,  publishes  magnificent  denunciations  which  he  has  not  had 
the  courage  to  deliver.  Moreover,  we  see  his  intimate  thoughts 
revealed  in  all  the  frankness  of  an  unexpurgated  private  corre- 
spondence— and  there  are  few  statesmen,  certainly  very  few 
orators,  whose  reputations  can  sustain  that  test.  Thus  the 
golden  words  often  ring  hollow.  His  vanity  is  often  ludicrous,  as 
when  he  writes  to  Lucceius,  to  beseech  a  conspicuous  place  in  his 
history,  even  if  the  truth  has  to  be  distorted  for  the  purpose ;  or 
when  he  loiters  at  Brundisium,  with  his  lictors'  rods  continually 
wreathed  in  laurel  for  the  futile  hope  of  a  triumph.  Certainly 
he  was  an  egoist.  Probably  in  their  private  correspondence  all 
men  are.  But  he  was  also  a  gentleman,  one  of  the  few  Romans 
of  his  day  with  whom  one  would  care  to  shake  hands  in  Elysium. 
To  Mommsen,  Caesar  is  the  "sole  creative  genius"  of 
Roman  history.  We  may  well  ask  what  he  created.  Cer- 
tainly not  the  empire,  for  that  fell  to  pieces  at  his  death,  and 
had  to  be  re-created  on  a  new  plan  by  his  successor.  Not  even 
the  Gallic  province,  for  though  he  conquered  it,  he  left  the 
problem  of  its  organisation  to  Augustus.  Possibly  the  Lex 

K  145 


Julia  municipalis.     But  Cicero*  created  Latin  prose  out  of 
next  to  nothing  and  left  it  to  the  world  as  its  grandest  form 
of  literary  expression.     The  splendid  Latin  period,  with  its 
clear  logical  order,  its  chain  of  dependent  clauses  each  in  its 
place  with  absolute  precision,  a  thought  built  of  words  as  a 
temple  is  built  of  marble,  is  the  best  expression  of  Roman 
grandeur,  as  typical  and  as  enduring  as  a  Roman  road  or  wall. 
It  was  not  mere  art.    It  was  the  natural  expression  of  a  Roman 
mind  trained  in  law  and  rhetoric.     It  was  perhaps  the  finest 
thing  the  Romans  ever  made,  and  the  Latin  period  is  the  true 
justification  for  retaining  Latin  in  its  place  for  the  education 
of  young  barbarians  accustomed  to  string  their  random  ideas 
together  like  dish-clouts    on  a  line.     Although  it  was   the 
result  of  long  training  under  all  the  most  distinguished  masters 
of  Rome  and  Greece,  and  was  perfected  with  infinite  labour, 
Cicero's  style,  when  once  achieved,  was  extraordinarily  rapid 
and  fluent,  as  the  number  of  his  works  can  testify.     It  is  true 
that,  like  many  great  stylists — Dryden,  for  example — he  came 
to  believe  that  style  was  everything.      He  was  prepared  to 
write  a  geography  of  the  world  or  a  history  of  Rome.     He 
only  wanted  a  few  notes  from  his  brother  Quintus  to  write  an 
account  of  Britain.      His  multitudinous  philosophical  works 
were,  as  we  have  seen,  more  style  than  philosophy,  thrown  off 
in  a  few  months  to  while  away  the  time  at  his  Tusculan  villa 
at  intervals  when  the  temperature  of  Rome,  literally  or  politi- 
cally,  was   too   high   to   suit   his  health.     In  such  work  he 
may  fairly  be  called  a  journalist,  though  a  very  great  one. 
When  he  writes  of  a  subject  he  really  understands,  such  as 
rhetoric,  he  is  at  his  best.     Again,  in  his  forensic  speeches  or 
writings  he  is  much  better  as  an  advocate  than  as  a  lawyer.    His 
mind  is  not  capable  of  juristic  precision,  he  is  neither  deep  nor 
subtle,  and  so  far  his  influence  is  wholly  detrimental  in  the 
history  of  Roman  law.    He  would  probably  infuriate  a  trained 
judge ;  but  give  him  a  jury,  and,  if  possible,  a  large  Italian 
one,  and  he  is  irresistible,  now  with  translucent  rapid  narra- 

*  Plate  15. 


tive,  now  with  clever  mystification,  breaking  off  into  thundering 
appeals  to  conscience  or  heaven,  or  again  with  passionate 
denunciation  of  his  opponent  or  majestic  encomium  for  his 
client.  In  the  senate  he  is  not  at  his  best.  We  are  told  that 
a  few  blunt  words  from  Cato  had  more  power  to  move  that 
assembly  of  practical  men  than  all  the  Catilinarian  orations. 
But  if  Rome  had  been  governed  as  Greece  was,  by  orations  in 
the  market-place,  Cicero  would  have  been  in  Caesar's  place  as 
dictator  of  the  world.  Imagine  the  Roman  mob  assembling 
in  63  B.C.  to  hear  their  consul's  account  of  Catiline's  flight — 

tandem  aliquando,  Quirites,  L.  Catilinam,  furentem 
attdacia,  scelus  anhelantem,  pestem  patriae  nefarie  molientem, 
uobis  atque  huic  urbi  ferrum  flammamque  minitantem,  ex  urbe 
uel  eiecimus,  uel  emisimus,  uel  ipsum  egredientem  uerbis 
prosecuti  sumus.  abiit,  excessit,  euasit,  erupit.  nulla  iam 
pernicies  a  monstro  illo  atque  prodigio  mcenibus  ipsis  intra 
moenia  comparabitur.  non  enim  iam  inter  latera  nostra  sica 
ilia  uersabitur:  non  in  Campo,  non  in  foro,  non  in  Curia,  non 
denique  intra  domesticas  parietes,  pertimescemus  * 

— his  voice  screams  with  passion,  or  sinks  into  pathos;  pre- 
sently he  drops  into  the  tones  of  calm  reason  or  fluent 
narrative ;  as  he  nears  his  peroration  his  eyes  flash,  his  hands 
gesticulate,  his  body  sways  from  side  to  side,  his  foot  stamps 
the  ground,  he  seems  to  foam  at  the  mouth : 

dolebam,  dolebam,  patres  conscripti,  rempublicam  uestris 
quondam  meisque  consiliis  conseruatam,  breui  tempore  esse 
perituram  .  .  .  audite,  audite,  patres  conscripti,  et  cognoscite 
reipublicse  uolnera.  .  .  .f 

*  At  last,  Fellow  Citizens  of  Rome,  at  last  we  are  quit  of  Lucius  Catiline. 
Mad  with  audacity,  panting  with  iniquity,  infamously  contriving  destruction  for 
the  fatherland,  hurling  his  threats  of  fire  and  slaughter  against  us  and  our  city, 
we  have  cast  him  forth  or  driven  him  forth  or  escorted  him  forth  on  his  way  with 
salutations.  Gone,  vanished,  absconded,  escaped  !  No  more  shall  disaster  be 
plotted  against  our  bulwarks  from  within  by  that  monster,  that  prodigy  of 
wickedness.  No  more  shall  that  dagger  threaten  our  hearts.  No  more  in  the 
Campus,  nor  in  the  forum,  nor  in  the  senate-house,  no  more  within  the  walls  of 
our  own  homes,  shall  he  fill  us  with  panic  and  alarm. 

t  I  was  grieved,  Fathers  and  Senators,  grieved  that  the  republic  once  saved 
by  your  exertions  and  mine  should  be  doomed  so  shortly  to  perish.  .  .  .  Listen, 
listen,  Fathers  and  Senators,  listen  and  learn  the  wounds  of  our  fatherland ! 



"  Why,  you  did  not  even  stamp  your  foot ! "  he  exclaims  in 
rebuking  the  coolness  of  an  opposing  counsel.  It  is  true  that 
there  were  purists  of  the  severer  school  of  Roman  oratory  who 
thought  such  vehemence  meretricious  and  undignified.  The 
true  Roman  eloquence  of  the  old  school  is  to  be  found  in  that 
ambassador  who  came  to  the  Carthaginian  senate  with  "  peace 
or  war,"  gathered  in  the  folds  of  his  mantle  and  briefly  com- 
manded them  to  choose;  or  that  other  who  drew  a  circle  in 
the  dust  round  the  Great  King  and  demanded  an  answer 
before  he  left  the  circle.  Cicero  had  studied  his  art  both  in 
the  flowery  Asiatic  and  the  severer  Attic  schools.  There  was 
still,  his  critics  complained,  too  much  Asia  in  his  style.  But 
that  was  part  of  the  tendency  of  his  age.  The  austerity  of 
Cato,  with  his  simple  formulae,  was  gone  for  ever.  The 
Romans  of  this  age  are  more  emotional,  more  sentimental, 
more  characteristically  Southern. 

If  we  reproach  Cicero  with  weakness  and  cowardice  in  his 
political  life,  the  story  of  his  end  may  atone  for  it.  After 
Caesar's  murder,  when  Antony  was  master  of  Rome,  a  man 
utterly  unscrupulous  and  wedded  to  a  still  more  unscrupulous 
wife,  Cicero  flung  away  all  his  timidity  and  hesitation.  Con- 
vinced that  the  consul  was  trying  to  re-establish  a  monarchy, 
the  old  orator  came  down  to  the  senate  and  launched  at  him 
the  series  of  ferocious  but  most  eloquent  philippics.  Some 
were  spoken,  some  merely  written  and  published.  It  was 
courting  death  in  the  cause  of  liberty.  Cicero  was  not  blind 
to  the  danger  he  was  running.  But  he  is  probably  sincere 
when  he  says  that  life  has  no  more  attractions  for  him. 

defendi  rempublicam  adolescens ;  non  deseram  senex : 
contempsi  Catilinae  gladios ;  non  pertimescam  tuos.  quin 
etiam  corpus  libenter  obtulerim,  si  repraesentari  morte  mea 
libertas  ciuitatis  potest;  ut  aliquando  dolor  populi  Romani 
pariat  quod  iamdiu  parturit.  etenim  si,  abhinc  prope  annos 
uiginti,  hoc  ipso  in  templo,  negaui  posse  mortem  immaturam 
esse  consulari,  quanto  uerius  nunc  negabo  seni !  mihi  uero, 
iam  etiam  optanda  mors  est,  perfuncto  rebus  iis  quas  adeptus 



sum  quasque  gessi.  duo  modo  haec  opto :  unum,  ut  moriens 
populum  Romanum  liberum  relinquam  ;  hoc  mihi  maius  a  dis 
immortalibus  dari  nihil  potest :  alterum  ut  ita  cuique  eueniat, 
ut  de  republica  quisque  mereatur.* 

As  he  foresaw  so  plainly,  the  philippics  caused  his  doom. 
When  the  triumvirate  drew  up  its  proscription-lists,  Octavian  is 
said  to  have  pleaded  for  his  life.  But  Antony's  wrath  was 
implacable.  Cicero's  head  and  his  hands  were  nailed  to  the 
rostra  from  which  he  had  so  often  poured  out  his  rhetoric,  and 
the  virago  Fulvia,  so  the  story  goes,  thrust  her  needle  through 
his  eloquent,  venomous  tongue. 

Julius  Caesar,  that  miracle  of  energy,  beside  being  a 
competent  grammarian  and  no  mean  poet,  was  reputed  the 
second  of  Roman  orators.  Of  that  we  have  little  means  of 
judging.  Certainly  he  could  quell  a  mutiny  by  a  speech, 
and  his  Commentaries  were  not  the  least  wonderful  of  his 
achievements.  Professedly  they  are  mere  notes  for  a  real 
historian — by  "  historian  "  the  Romans  always  meant  "  orator  " 
— to  dress  up  for  literature.  They  are  mere  despatches 
intended  to  inform  the  senate  and  the  world  of  the  progress 
of  his  campaigns.  They  were  written  at  odd  moments  in  a 
prodigiously  active  life.  Their  style  is  so  simple  and  so  correct 
that  we  cast  them  as  pearls  before  the  fourth-form  schoolboy. 
Yet  they  are  in  reality  a  triumphant  product  of  the  rhetorical 
art;  so  simple,  they  must  be  honest;  so  modest,  they  must  be 
candid.  You  would  scarcely  think  that  they  are  a  defence  or  a 

*  As  a  youth  I  defended  the  state ;  I  will  not  fail  her  in  my  age  :  I  spurned 
the  swords  of  Catiline  ;  I  will  not  tremble  at  thine.  Nay,  sirs,  I  would 
gladly  give  my  body  to  death,  if  that  could  assure  the  liberty  of  our  country  and 
help  the  pains  of  the  Roman  people  to  bring  the  fruit  of  its  long  travailing  to 
birth.  Why,  nearly  twenty  years  ago  in  this  very  temple  I  declared  that  death 
could  not  come  too  soon  for  a  man  who  had  enjoyed  a  consulship.  With  how  much 
more  truth  shall  I  declare  it  in  my  age  !  To  me  death  is  already  covetable  ;  I 
have  finished  with  those  rewards  which  I  have  gained  and  those  honours  which 
I  have  achieved.  Only  these  two  prayers  I  make  :  one,  that  at  my  death  I  may 
leave  the  Roman  people  free  (than  this  nothing  greater  could  be  granted  by  the 
immortal  gods),  and,  secondly,  that  every  man  may  so  be  requited  as  he  may 
deserve  at  the  hands  of  the  republic ! 



vindication.  In  the  same  easy  flow  of  narrative  breathless  escapes 
are  concealed.  Who  remembers  from  his  schooldays  Caesar's 
description  of  that  moment,  so  pregnant  with  human  destiny, 
when  the  eagle  first  alighted  on  our  shores  in  the  hands  of  the 
gallant  centurion  of  the  Tenth  Legion  ?  Caesar  seems  more 
like  a  Greek  than  a  Roman  in  his  directness  as  in  his  reticence. 
Fortunately  for  history  Caesar  had  far  more  natural  curiosity 
than  most  of  the  Romans.  It  is  surprising  how  little  Cicero 
really  tells  us  of  Roman  or  Cilician  life  in  all  his  voluminous 
correspondence.  But  Caesar  went  out  to  explore  as  well  as  to 
conquer.  It  may  even  be  true  that  his  visit  to  Britain  was,  as 
he  asserts,  partly  due  to  curiosity.  He  notes  our  little  insular 
peculiarities — our  custom  of  sharing  wives,  our  habit  of 
keeping  the  hare,  the  hen,  and  the  goose  as  pets  because  our 
religion  forbids  us  to  eat  them.  He  sees  the  superior  civilisa- 
tion of  Kent.  He  observes  our  clothing  of  skins,  our  dyeing 
ourselves  blue  with  woad,  our  long  hair  and  moustaches,  our 
horsemen  and  charioteers,  our  innumerable  population  and 
crowded  buildings,  our  plenteous  store  of  cattle,  our  metals — 
bronze,  iron,  and  tin.  He  is  equally  observant  in  Gaul  and 
Germany.  The  debt  that  history  owes  to  him  for  these  records 
is  incalculable. 

Lesser  lights  such  as  Sallust  and  Nepos  dabbled  in  history 
and  have  had  the  good  fortune  to  survive.  Livy,  though  he 
wrote  under  Augustus,  is  a  true  Republican  in  mind  and 
sympathy.  His  majestic  history  of  Rome  is  the  work  of  a 
rhetorician  setting  out  to  extol  the  glories  of  the  Republic. 
Although  he  sometimes  displays  a  rudimentary  critical  instinct 
in  comparing  his  authorities,  his  main  task  was  to  Latinise 
Polybius  and  to  embellish  with  first-century  style  the  dry 
annals  of  Fabius  Pictor  and  Licinius  Macer.  It  is  not  the 
least  of  our  many  grievances  against  the  monks  that  they 
allowed  so  much  of  Livy  to  disappear. 

The  golden  age  of  classical  literature  covers  this  last  half- 
century  of  the  Republic  and  the  first  half-century  of  the 
Empire.  There  is,  on  the  whole,  little  trace  of  division 



between  the  general  character  of  Republican  and  Imperial 
letters  except  that  with  Augustus  the  principal  writers  are 
definitely  engaged  under  the  Emperor's  banner  of  reform.  The 
main  characteristic  of  both  is  rhetoric  and  convention.  It  is 
to  Alexandria  and  its  state-fostered  writing-club  that  the  world 
owes  convention  in  literature.  The  Romans  drew  their 
inspiration  from  Greece  but  mainly  from  Alexandria,  and  as 
literature  at  Rome  was  now  chiefly  in  the  hands  of  a  clique  of 
nobles  it  was  possible  for  a  classical  style  to  grow  strong 
there.  Cicero  and  his  friends  evolved  a  style,  not  only  of 
literature  but  even  of  thought,  which  could  pronounce  itself  as 
"  urbane,"  and  all  else  as  barbarian  or  rustic.  Roman  literature 
of  the  first  centuries  before  and  after  Christ  was  as  much 
under  the  domination  of  epithets  like  "  urbane  "  and  "  humane  " 
as  was  the  literature  of  the  eighteenth  century  under  "elegant" 
and  "  ingenious."  Even  Livy  as  an  outsider  was  suspected  of 
mingling  "Patavinity"  with  his  Latinity.  It  is  the  aris- 
tocracies of  literature,  such  as  the  court  of  Louis  XIV.  or  of 
Charles  II.,  or  such  as  the  coffee-house  cliques  of  Addison's 
day  or  the  Johnsonian  clubs,  which  create  and  maintain  our 
periods  of  classical  convention. 

Literature,  as  we  have  already  seen  occasion  to  remark, 
since  it  works  in  the  most  plastic  medium,  is  generally  the  first 
of  the  arts  to  develop ;  and  literature  is  only  yet  beginning. 
But  then  Rome  borrowed  her  arts  wholesale  from  Greece,  and 
thus  her  culture  has  no  true  infancy.  The  burning  problem 
of  Roman  originality  in  Art  must  be  reserved  until  we  reach 
the  Augustan  age.  For  the  present  we  must  still  deny  the 
existence  of  any  really  spontaneous  art  growth  at  Rome  during 
the  Republic.  Where  native  art  may  be  looked  for  with  the 
highest  probability  of  finding  it  is  in  architecture,  portrait- 
sculpture,  and  painting;  in  architecture,  partly  because  the 
Romans  had  a  natural  passion  for  building  and  partly  because 
their  religious  and  social  habits  called  for  quite  distinct  types 
of  construction  in  palaces,  halls,  amphitheatres,  triumphal 
arches,  fora,  and  other  secular  buildings  upon  which  the  Greeks 


had  wasted  little  of  their  attention ;  in  portraiture  because  it 
was  a  peculiar  custom  at  Rome  to  make  and  display  images  of 
their  ancestors,  whereas  the  Greeks  in  their  love  of  the  ideal 
had  until  latterly  shrunk  from  the  presentation  of  casual  human 
lineaments  and  still  idealised  them  as  far  as  possible,  and  also 
because  the  Etruscans,  who  were  the  first  nurses  of  Roman 
culture,  had  developed  portraiture  for  themselves ;  and  in 
painting,  partly  owing  to  the  same  Etruscan  influence  and 
partly  because  the  Romans,  using  inferior  building  materials 
such  as  brick,  limestone,  and  terra-cotta  covered  with  stucco, 
were  naturally  drawn  to  mural  painting  for  the  sake  of  orna- 
ment. But  if  we  look  for  originality  here  we  are  disappointed. 
Undoubtedly  hundreds  of  magnificent  villas  were  being  run  up 
all  over  Italy  from  Como  to  Sorrento,  but  a  Roman  villa  was 
more  an  affair  of  landscape  gardening  than  of  architecture.  It 
consisted  mainly  of  a  series  of  courts  and  colonnades  sprawling 
at  large  over  the  ground.  The  walls  were  built  of  coarse  tufa 
or  peperino ;  they  were  only  just  beginning  to  be  incrusted  with 
marble  slabs.  As  a  city  Rome  was  still  contemptible — a 
huddled  mass  of  narrow,  tortuous  alleys.  Augustus  swept 
away  as  much  of  it  as  he  could  afford  to  demolish,  and  his 
historians  remark  that  "  he  found  Rome  built  of  brick  and  left 
it  built  of  marble."  There  were  of  course  ancient  temples, 
venerable  with  dignity,  and  no  doubt  to  us  they  would  have 
seemed  beautiful  with  the  picturesqueness  of  antiquity.  But 
with  Gracchans  and  Marians  and  Clodians  rioting  at  large 
through  the  city,  many  of  these  venerable  shrines  were  destroyed 
by  fire.  The  Roman  ruins  as  seen  by  the  modern  traveller  are 
almost  all  of  Imperial  times.  The  great  Temple  of  Jupiter  on 
the  Capitol  was  rebuilt  four  times.  The  round  temple  of  Vesta 
was  frequently  destroyed  and  restored.  Although  for  religious 
reasons  the  plan  of  the  original  was  generally  preserved  in 
these  rebuildings,  the  details  were  in  accordance  with  the  style 
of  the  day.  Nevertheless  the  plans  are  interesting.  The 
round  shrines  of  Vesta  and  Mater  Matuta*  are  clearly  an  archi- 

*  Plate  44,  Fig.  2. 




tectural  development  from  a  round  hut  constructed  of  wood 
with  a  thatched  'roof.  Indeed  the  Temple  of  Vesta  is  said  to 
have  been  modelled  on  the  hut  of  Romulus.  It  was  perhaps 
originally  the  king's  house  in  which  the  princesses  tended  the 
sacred  fire.  The  Temple  of  Jupiter  Capitolinus  also  was,  if  we 
may  trust  the  coins,  built  on  an  un-Greek  plan  with  three  naves 
instead  of  a  single  nave  with  aisles. 

The  only  two  considerable  relics  of  Republican  architecture 
are  the  Tabularium  and  the  Temple  of  Fortuna  Virilis,  both 
dating  from  the  period  of  Sulla.  In  that  period,  when  Rome 
had  just  discovered  Greek  culture,  when  the  armies  of  Sulla 
and  Lucullus  came  home  laden  with  Greek  spoil,  there  was  a 
temporary  outburst  of  artistic  activity  at  Rome.  It  was,  how- 
ever, entirely  in  the  hands  of  foreign  artists.  In  143,  Metellus, 
the  victor  of  Macedonia,  built  the  first  marble  temple  at  Rome 
in  the  Campus  Martius.  Sulla  himself  carried  off  the  huge 
columns  of  the  unfinished  temple  of  Olympian  Zeus  at  Athens 
to  adorn  the  Roman  Capitol.  The  Cyprian  Greek  Hermodorus 
was  employed  to  construct  temples  and  docks.  The  Romans 
had  indeed  their  native  principles  of  building,  which  from  a 
merely  constructive  point  of  view  were  in  advance  of  anything 
that  the  Greeks  had  evolved  for  themselves.  Greek  architec- 
ture of  the  best  period  had  been  almost  exclusively  devoted  to 
the  service  of  religion.  Their  efforts  were  almost  limited  to  the 
perfecting  of  the  Doric  and  Ionic  temple,  and  when  they  had  to 
build  a  secular  building  like  the  gate  of  the  Acropolis,  they  were 
still  content  with  a  mere  adaptation  of  Doric  temple  to  their 
new  purpose.  Their  building  material  was  marble,  and  with 
their  peculiar  artistic  discretion  the  Greeks  saw  that  marble  was 
at  its  best  in  the  austere  lines  of  pediment  and  columns.  But  the 
Romans,  before  they  imported  marble,  had  made  a  beginning 
with  brick  and  cement,  which  require  quite  different  methods 
of  architecture.  In  prehistoric  "  Servian  "  days  they  had  dis- 
covered or  learnt  from  the  Etruscans  the  use  of  the  vault  and 
arch,  at  any  rate  for  tunnels,  but  it  is  characteristic  of  their 
artistic  poverty  that  they  had  made  little  architectural  use  of 



these  important  principles.  The  triumphal  arch  seems  to  have 
been  a  Roman  invention,  and  several  triumphal  arches  were 
built  in  republican  days,  but  unfortunately  we  have  no  informa- 
tion as  to  their  style.  The  Sullan  revival  of  art  was  purely  an 
importation  of  foreign  models.  In  the  Temple  of  Fortuna 
Virilis  built  in  78  B.C.  we  see  how  the  Romans  used  their 
imported  architecture.*  The  graceful  Ionic  columns  support 
nothing.  They  are  used  for  ornament  as  the  West  African 
native  uses  his  European  clothes.  The  Greeks  had  indeed 
used  engaged  columns,  as  in  the  Erechtheum,  to  complete  the 
design  where  there  was  no  space  for  a  free  colonnade,  but  the 
Romans  built  them  into  their  walls  for  the  sake  of  ornament. 
This  is  typical.  Culture  was  to  the  Greeks  a  vital  part  of  their 
existence,  to  the  Romans  it  was  an  embellishment. 

But  Roman  architecture,  having  made  this  effort,  had 
relapsed  again  until  the  days  of  the  Caesars.  There  was  more 
destroying  than  building  in  the  evil  days  of  Cicero's  prime. 
The  selfish  plutocrats  were  too  busy  building  their  villas  to 
give  a  thought  to  the  gods'  or  the  city's  adornment. 

It  was  much  the  same  with  the  other  arts.  Take  the  coins, 
for  example.  The  clumsy  copper  A  s,  with  the  head  of  Janus 
on  the  obverse  and  the  prow  of  a  ship  on  the  reverse,!  had 
of  old  weighed  1 2  ounces.  All  through  republican  history  it 
was  gradually  shrinking;  in  217  B.C.  it  was  fixed  at  one  ounce, 
in  89  B.C.  at  half  an  ounce.  Long  before  that,  however,  silver 
had  taken  its  place.  As  we  have  remarked,  silver  was  not 
coined,  though  no  doubt  it  circulated,  at  Rome  before  268  B.C. 
From  2 1 7  onwards  silver  became  the  real  standard  of  value,  and 
about  80  B.C.  the  copper  coinage  ceased  altogether  for  a  time. 
Not  only  were  the  original  designs  of  the  "heavy  copper" 
borrowed  from  Greece,  but  there  is  not  the  least  sign  in  the 
Roman  coinage  of  any  artistic  development  as  time  progresses. 
Simply,  as  Head  remarks,  "  the  degree  of  excellence  attained  in 
any  particular  district  depended  upon  the  closeness  of  its  rela- 
tions, direct  or  indirect,  with  some  Greek  city,  or  at  least  with 

*  Plate  1 6.  |  See  page  18 


•  t/ft 



a  population  imbued  with  the  spirit  of  Greek  art."  There  are 
coins  of  Sulla,  both  silver  and  gold,  doubtless  of  Greek  work- 
manship,  which  display  fairly  artistic  designs.*  But  the  coins 
of  Antony  and  Cleopatra,  interesting  as  they  are  historically, 
and  designed,  of  course,  in  the  Hellenised  East,  are  much 
inferior.*  We  notice  an  attempt  at  portraiture,  but  the  striking 
resemblance  between  the  Roman  triumvir  and  the  Egyptian 
queen  suggests  the  question  which  of  the  pair  was  the 

In  sculpture,  too,  the  most  ardent  supporters  of  Roman 
originality  can  find  little  to  comfort  them  in  the  closing  cen- 
tury of  the  Republic.  We  have  seen  how  the  victories  of 
Mummius  and  his  successors  had  created  a  taste  and  a  market 
for  Greek  works  of  art.  With  those  of  Sulla  and  Lucullus 
immense  quantities  of  loot  had  crossed  the  Adriatic,  and  Rome 
began  to  be  what  New  York  is  now,  the  home  of  connoisseurs 
and  collectors.  As  connoisseurs  are  wont  to  do,  the  Roman 
millionaires  studied  commercial  values  rather  than  artistic 
qualities.  No  doubt  in  time  their  taste  improved  from  the 
days  when  Mummius  had  warned  his  men  that  any  of  the 
Greek  masterpieces  destroyed  in  transit  would  have  to  be 
replaced  by  new  ones.  But  they  still  went  very  largely  by  the 
names  of  the  artists :  a  genuine  Praxiteles  or  Scopas  was  worth 
immense  sums.  Every  villa  now  required  statues  for  its 
adornment — Greek  originals,  if  possible  ;  if  not,  copies.  For 
the  most  part  they  were  reckoned  purely  as  objects  of  value 
along  with  handsome  tables,  vases,  bowls,  and  signet-rings. 
When  Cicero  buys  Greek  statues  he  prefers  Muses  to  Bacchantes 
as  being  more  appropriate  to  his  studies.  The  question  of 
artistic  value  scarcely  enters  his  mind.  The  most  famous 
named  sculptor  of  this  period  is  the  Italian-Greek  Pasiteles,  who 
visited  Rome  about  90  B.C.  and  there  made  original  statues  for 
Roman  temples.  Pasiteles,  of  course,  was  of  the  Hellenic 
decline.  He  was  a  metal-worker  by  training,  and  his  work 
is  like  that  of  Cellini,  more  decorative  than  creative.  It  is 

*  Plate  22,  Nos.  3  and  3. 


jewellery  on  a  large  scale.  He  evolved  no  new  style  of  his 
own,  but  set  himself  to  copy  and  elaborate  ancient  types  to 
meet  the  artificial  demand  for  antiquities.  Many  of  the 
"archaistic"  works  in  our  museums  belong  to  this  period  of 
production,  and  as  decoration  many  of  them  are  extremely 
charming.  We  have  other  names  of  the  Pasitelean  school,  all 
Greek,  such  as  Stephanus  and  Menelaus,  but  there  is  very 
little  originality  or  interest  in  them.  The  Venus  Genetrix  in 
the  Louvre  is  undoubtedly  a  fine  statue,  and  is  probably  a 
faithful  copy  of  the  original  by  Arcesilaus  of  the  first  cen- 
tury B.C.*  But  the  face,  at  any  rate,  quite  visibly  goes  back  to 
the  Greek  sculpture  of  the  fifth  century,  and  perhaps,  as  has 
been  suggested,  to  Alcamenes.  It  is  in  the  treatment  of  the 
transparent  drapery  that  the  present  artist  shows  his  skill. 
Skill  there  was  in  abundance  in  those  Greek  chisels  of  the 
first  century ;  even  the  Farnese  Hercules  of  Glycon  and  the 
Medici  Venus  f  are  astonishing  as  efforts  of  chisel-craft,  utterly 
debased  and  debasing  as  they  are. 

We  know  from  history  that  portrait  statues  had  long  been 
common  at  Rome.  The  forum  was  full  of  them.  We  saw 
in  an  earlier  chapter  how  the  old  Etruscans  had  placed  terra- 
cotta portraits  of  the  deceased  upon  their  tombs,  and  how  the 
old  Romans  preserved  wax  images  of  their  forefathers  for  use 
at  funerals.  Most  primitive  peoples  have  an  instinctive  dread 
of  portraiture  as  a  sort  of  blasphemy.  Perhaps  the  early 
growth  of  facial  portraiture  at  Rome  was  helped  by  the  worship 
of  a  man's  genius,  his  luck,  his  spirit,  his  guardian  angel. 
The  genius  naturally  was  depicted  in  the  likeness  of  the  man 
himself.  So  the  imagines  in  a  Roman  atrium  were  no  mere 
portraits  of  defunct  ancestors.  Rather  they  were  visible  pre- 
sentments of  invisible  presences.  Unfortunately  very  few 
unquestionably  genuine  examples  of  republican  portraiture 
have  survived.  Portraits  of  ancient  celebrities  were  freely 
constructed  at  all  times,  and  it  is  not  easy  to  date  them.  We 
have  not  at  Rome  as  we  have  in  Greece  a  clear  line  of  artistic 

*  Plate  18,  Fig.  i.  \  Plate  18,  Fig  2. 




a     . 

H      » 

<:    — 

a     > 

-     a 

s    £ 

<    2 

X      0- 





development  which  enables  the  trained  archaeologist  to  date 
any  casual  work  of  art  to  within  half  a  century  almost  at  a 
glance.  It  is  now  a  question  of  employing  more  or  less  skilful 
Greeks.  It  is  probable  that  most  of  the  portraits  already 
illustrated  in  this  book  were  executed  under  the  Caesars,  but 
they  may  well  go  back  to  earlier  if  ruder  likenesses,  and  in  any 
case  the  portraits  are  interesting  for  their  own  sake.  The 
portraits  of  Julius  Caesar,  both  the  white  marble  bust  in  the 
Vatican  Museum*  and  the  still  more  striking  example  in  black 
basalt  in  the  Barracco  Museum  at  Rome,  are,  however,  almost 
certainly  of  contemporary  or,  at  the  latest,  Augustan  date,  so 
real  and  vivid  is  the  portraiture.  There  is  another  very  fine 
black  basalt  head  of  Julius  in  Berlin,f  but  its  authenticity  has 
been  questioned.  It  certainly  corresponds  very  closely  with  the 
profile  of  the  dictator  on  his  coins.J  The  bust  of  M.  Brutus 
may  also  be  identified  by  comparison  with  the  coins.  That  of 
Cicero  is  probable  but  not  so  certain. 

This  art  of  realistic  portraiture,  then,  is  claimed  as  the 
great  contribution  of  ancient  Rome  to  artistic  progress.  It 
yet  remains  to  be  shown  that  any  part  of  the  work  was  done 
by  native  artists.  At  present  the  evidence  is  all  in  favour  of 
Greek  authorship.  But  the  Romans  may  claim  the  credit  of 
demanding  or  even  inspiring  realism.  Roman  archaeologists, 
especially  those  who,  like  Wickhoff  and  Mrs.  Strong,  are  con- 
cerned to  plead  the  cause  of  Roman  originality  in  art,  often 
seem  to  assume  that  the  Greeks  of  the  best  period  could  not 
express  individuality,  in  fact  that  the  ideal  tendency  of  their 
statues,  portraits  included,  is  due  to  convention  if  not  to  the 
sheer  limitations  of  their  craftsmanship.  Elsewhere  we  have 
seen  that  much  of  the  apparent  simplicity  of  Greek  work  of 
the  best  period  is  really  elaborate  self-restraint.  All  their 
religious  ideas  forbade  them  to  express  divinity  with  any  marks 
of  time  or  place  upon  face  or  feature.  So  when  it  came — as  it 
came  slowly — to  portraying  a  statesman  like  Pericles,  or  a 
monarch  like  Alexander,  they  deliberately  honoured  them  by 
*  Plate  20,  Fig.  i.  f  Plate  19.  J  Plate  22,  Fig.  4. 



idealising  them  and  smoothing  away  the  accidentals.  Thus 
they  concealed  the  inordinately  long  skull  of  Pericles  by 
depicting  him  in  a  helmet.  They  could  be  realistic  enough 
when  they  chose  to  be,  but  that  was  never  in  the  adornment 
of  temples  except  just  so  far  as  to  indicate  the  barbarity  of 
Centaurs  or  Giants  in  contrast  to  the  perfection  of  the  Greek. 
Myron's  Cow  has  perished  without  offspring,  but  the  slave- 
boys  on  the  tombstones  are  realistic  enough — to  say  nothing 
of  the  Ludovisi  Reliefs.  Realism  was  no  new  discovery  of 
the  Romans.  On  the  contrary,  so  far  as  it  was  an  innovation 
it  was  an  act  of  indulgence,  a  breaking  down  of  self-imposed 
barriers.  Even  then,  was  it  inspired  by  any  abstract  passion 
for  the  naked  truth,  such  as  moved  Cromwell  to  command  his 
portrait-painter  to  include  the  warts?  Not  entirely.  The 
Romans  were  a  rhetorical,  not  a  realistic  people.  I  believe 
that  Roman  realism  in  portraiture  is  chiefly  due  to  the  national 
custom  of  preserving  the  imagines  taken  from  the  death-masks 
of  the  illustrious  dead.  On  Greek  soil  the  Greek  artists  were 
still  idealising  their  portraits — witness  the  fine  head  of  Mithra- 
dates  on  the  coins  of  Pontus ;  *  but  when  their  Roman  sitters 
asked  for  realism  they  gave  it — gave  it  sometimes  with  the 
unexpected  thoroughness  of  Mr.  Sargent.  Besides  coins  and 
statues  there  are  very  fine  portraits  on  the  gems  of  the  first 
century  B.C. 

Towards  painting  too  we  saw  that  the  Romans  had  in- 
herited some  traditional  bent.  We  hear  of  Greek  painters 
highly  esteemed  at  Rome  in  this  period  as  well  as  of  imported 
Greek  pictures  fetching  enormous  prices.  The  Romans  loved 
colour,  and  their  villa  walls  were  commonly  stuccoed  and 
painted,  if  not  incrusted  with  marble,  while  their  floors  began 
to  be  inlaid  with  pictorial  mosaic.  But  we  have  little  or 
nothing  of  this  date  to  show.  It  should,  however,  be  noted 
that  the  graphic  taste  of  the  Romans  together  with  their  habit 
of  treating  art  as  mere  decoration  was  now  leading  to  a  new 
phase  of  pictorial  sculpture  which  will  have  important  effects 

*  Plate  22,  No.  i. 




in  the  bas-relief  work  of  the  Augustan  period.  In  revenge 
Italy  was  now  turning  out  a  system  of  plastic  decoration  for 
vases  in  the  Aretine  pottery  *  which  was  new  and  full  of 

On  the  whole  the  verdict  must  go  against  Rome — at  any 
rate  republican  Rome — as  regards  artistic  originality.  The 
Rome  of  Cicero's  day  was  amazingly  rich  and  dreadfully  poor. 
It  had  a  high  culture  in  some  respects,  but  it  was  too  corrupt, 
morally  and  politically,  to  produce  good  work  of  its  own.  If 
there  had  been  any  possible  rival  in  the  field,  Rome  would 
assuredly  have  perished  in  the  course  of  that  distracted 
century.  If  she  had  perished  then,  what  would  she  have  left  to 
the  world?  A  few  second-hand  comedies,  Lucretius,  Catullus, 
and  Cicero ;  a  small  equivalent  for  all  the  blood  that  she  had 
shed,  and  all  the  groans  of  her  provincials. 

*  Plate  21, 




ultima  Cumasi  uenit  iam  carminis  aetas ; 
magnus  ab  integro  saeclorum  nascitur  ordo. 
iam  redit  et  Virgo,  redeunt  Saturnia  regna ; 
iam  noua  progenies  cselo  demittitur  alto. 


ERGIL'S  Fourth  Eclogue,  irqqi 
which  my  text  is  quoted,  is  often 
called  the  "Messianic  Eclogue."  It 
is  a  strange  poem.  In  the  midst  of  a 
book  of  pastoral  eclogues  very  closely 
modelled  on  the  Idylls  of  Theocritus, 
the  young  poet  from  Mantua  inserts 
one  in  which  he  invites  the  Sicilian 
Muses,  that  is,  the  Muses  of  Theo- 
critus, to  assist  him  in  a  loftier  strain 
than  usual.  His  poem  is  a  vision, 
a  prophecy  of  a  return  of  the  golden  age  to  accompany  the 
birth  of  a  child.  It  is  not  easy  to  determine  what  child.  The 
poem  was  written  for  the  consulship  of  Pollio,  who  had 
helped  Vergil  to  recover  his  paternal  farm.  Thus  it  is  very 
probable  that  the  poem  was  really  a  piece  of  very  gross 
flattery  directed  to  a  patron.  Nevertheless  the  prophecies 
of  peace  on  earth  which  it  foreshadows  chime  so  strangely 
with  the  Messianic  language  of  Isaiah  that  the  scholars 
of  the  Middle  Ages  alternatively  placed  Vergil  among  the 
prophets  or  condemned  him  as  a  wizard.  But  apart  from 
that  approaching  event  to  be  witnessed  in  an  obscure  village 
of  the  client-princedom  of  Judaea  there  was  even  in  secular 
1 60 



history  a  general  expectation  of  better  days  to  come.  The 
Virgin  Justice  did  in  sober  fact  return  to  the  Roman  world 
when  Octavian,  in  29  B.C.,  came  home  to  celebrate  his  triumph 
over  the  three  continents. 

I   make  high   claims  for  Octavian* — or  as  he  may  now 
be   called   by   anticipation    "Augustus" — in   history.     Julius 
Caesar  has  usurped  the  credit  of  inventing  that  wonderful  system 
the  Roman  Empire.     The  credit  really  belongs  to  Augustus. 
Monarchy,  indeed,  had  for  two  generations  at  the  least  become 
inevitable  at  Rome,  as  everybody,  from  Catiline  to  Cicero,  was 
bound  to  admit.  In  the  scramble  to  realise  it  Julius  Caesar  had  won 
the  day  and  had  thereupon  proceeded  to  introduce  his  conception 
of  its  proper  form.     He  died  before  his  plans  were  perfected  and 
we  have  no  means  of  knowing  his  inner  purpose.     But  we  know 
that  he  had  spurned  the  dignity  of  the  senate,  had  taken  some  of 
the  paraphernalia  of  royalty  and  set  up  his  statue  alongside  of  the 
old  kings  of  Rome.     His  plan  of  a  naked  despotism  had  failed, 
because  he  had  not  reckoned  with  the  tyrannicide  sentiment  of 
the  Roman  nobles.     His  assassination  was  no  mere  episode  or 
accident.     It  was  impossible  to  live  like  an  oriental  despot  in  the 
republican  city  without  an  oriental  bodyguard.     Julius  Caesar 
had  failed  through  pride.     When  he  fell,  the  whole  dreary 
round  of  proscriptions,  triumvirate,  and  civil  wars  had  to  begin 
again.     The  inevitable  monarchy  had  to  be  devised  afresh  on 
a  different  basis :  that  was  the  task  of  Augustus.     He  devised 
it  in  such  a  manner  that  it  lasted  in  the  West  for  just  five 
centuries  and  in  the  East  for  nearly  fifteen.     Indeed  it  can 
hardly  be   said  to    be   totally  extinct   now  in   the  twentieth. 
Judged  by  results  then,  the  work  of  Augustus  was  clearly  a 
consummate  piece  of  statesmanship.     When  we  consider  the 
methods  by  which  that  result  was  obtained  we  shall,  I  think, 
esteem  Augustus  as  the  greatest  statesman  in  the  history  of  the 

Augustus  has  never  been  a  popular  hero.     The  pure  states- 
man who  has  no  dashing  feats  of  arms  to  his  credit,  and  who 

*  Frontispiece,  and  Plates  23,  24,  25,  26. 

L  161 


has  left  us   no  records  of  impassioned   eloquence,  does   not 
lend  himself  to  idealisation.     Augustus  had  no  contemporary 
biographer,   nor   even   any  very   great   historian   ancient   or 
modern.     The  early  Empire  is  in  the  gap  between  the  end  of 
Mommsen  and  the  beginning  of  Gibbon.     Dr.  Gardthausen 
has  collected  all  the  available  material  about  Augustus  but  has 
scarcely  succeeded  in  making  him  clear  or  real  to  us  as  a  man. 
Tacitus  touched  him  off  in  a  few  satirical  epigrams  as  the 
crafty  tyrant  who  "bribed  the  army  with  gifts,  the  populace 
with  cheap  corn,  and  the  world  with  the  blessings  of  peace,  and 
so  grew  greater  by  degrees  while  he  concentrated  in  his  own 
hands  the  functions  of  the  senate,  the  magistrates,  and  the 
laws."    For  biographical  particulars  we  have  to  go  to  Sueto- 
nius's  Lives  of  the  Twelve  Ccesars,  a  most  unsatisfactory  source. 
Suetonius's  pages  teem  with  human  interest,  but  for  purposes 
of  history  they  are  provoking  and  baffling.     He  is  a  patient 
bookworm  who  compiles  systematic  little  biographies  without 
a  glimmer  of  the  biographical  sense.     As  imperial  librarian  he 
had  access  to  most  valuable  sources  of  information  but  he  had 
no  critical  instinct  in  using  them.     He  simply  collected  scraps 
from  various  sources  and  grouped  them  under  headings.     For  a 
list  of  virtues  he  would  go  to  a  courtier's  panegyrics  and  then 
turn  to  a  seditious  pamphlet  for  a  catalogue  of  vices.     His  own 
instinctive  preference  being  for  scandal,  he  has  touched  nothing 
which   he  has   not   defiled.     It  is   chiefly   due  to   Suetonius 
that  Augustus  appears  as   a  selfish  hypocrite,  Tiberius  as  a 
libidinous  tyrant,  Gaius  as  a  maniac,  Claudius  as  a  pedantic 
clown,  and  Nero  as  a  monster  of  wickedness.     And  yet  under 
these  five  reigns  the  Empire  was  growing  steadily  in  peace  and 
prosperity.     The  rulers  who  were  omnipotent  cannot  have  been 
altogether  such  as  they  are  described.     The  factious  senators 
who    still    dreamed    of    unreal    republican   glories    and    still 
treasured  the  memories  of  Cato  as  a  saint  and  Brutus  as  a 
martyr  were  not,  of  course,  allowed  free  criticism  of  their 
monarchs.     They  revenged  themselves  by  writing  secret  libels, 
many  but  not  all  of  which  logic  and  common  sense  can  easily 





disprove.  When  it  came  to  popular  reigns  like  those  of 
Vespasian  or  Hadrian  the  censorship  of  the  press  was  removed 
for  a  time,  and  then  the  senatorial  Republicans  like  Tacitus 
and  Juvenal  took  ample  revenge  upon  the  dead.  The  scurrilous 
pamphlets  were  unearthed  and  exalted  into  historical  documents 
and  so  passed  down  to  our  historians  as  history.  It  is  a 
suspicious  and  thankless  task  to  attempt  the  rehabilitation  of 
these  emperors.  The  world  is  rightly  sceptical  of  the  process 
which  it  calls  "whitewashing."  Moreover  the  necessary  data 
are  wanting.  We  can  only  allow  our  imaginations  to  suggest 
how  different  the  story  would  look  if  it  had  been  told  from  a 
sympathetic  point  of  view. 

It  is  very  difficult  to  form  any  complete  idea  of  the 
character  of  Augustus  as  a  man.  He  had  shown  daring  and 
ambition  when  as  an  obscure  lad  he  had  crossed  to  Italy  in 
44  B.C.  to  take  up  his  perilous  inheritance  as  Caesar's  heir. 
He  had  been  cool  and  diplomatic  even  in  those  earliest  days  in 
the  way  he  intrigued  with  the  senate  against  Antony,  and  then 
with  Antony  and  Lepidus  against  the  senate.  He  had  had 
extraordinary  luck  when  both  the  consuls  died  in  the  engage- 
ments round  Modena,  and  left  him,  the  praetor,  in  charge  of  a 
great  army.  Then  we  have  the  infamous  acts  of  the  trium- 
virate, when  the  unfortunate  senators  and  knights  were  pro- 
scribed in  hundreds,  and  Cicero,  with  whom  the  young  Caesar 
had  been  on  intimate  terms,  was  handed  over  without  apparent 
compunction  to  Antony's  vengeance.  Admirers  said  that  in 
this  he  was  overborne  by  his  older  colleague,  and  yielded 
reluctantly  to  a  stern  necessity  for  destroying  the  tyrannicide 
party.  Enemies  declared  that  even  if  he  had  been  reluctant  to 
begin  the  bloodshed  he  was  the  most  cruel  of  persecutors  when 
it  started.  In  the  fourteen  years  of  civil  war  that  followed,  he 
had  succeeded  in  winning  his  way  through  to  victory  more  by 
coolness  and  luck  than  by  any  display  of  generalship.  I  do 
not  think  that  we  can  fairly  accuse  him  of  cowardice.  It  was 
a  bold  act  when  he  rode  alone  and  unarmed  into  the  camp  of 
the  rebellious  and  hostile  Lepidus,  and  took  his  legions  away 



from  him  without  a  blow.  He  had  not  the  dashing  gallantry 
of  Antony,  or  the  fiery  vigour  of  Julius,  but  he  must  have 
had  the  gift  of  nerve  and  coolness.  He  had  certainly  come 
through  the  most  terrible  difficulties  and  dangers  from  open 
enemies  and  rebellious  armies  by  land  and  sea.  In  the  last 
duel  with  Antony  luck  had  been  with  him  once  more.  Like 
the  rake  and  gambler  that  he  was,  Antony  had  thrown  away 
his  game  for  the  sake  of  Eastern  ambitions  and  Eastern 
dalliance.  Then  there  was  that  last  scene  of  Cleopatra's 
tragedy,  when  the  conqueror  came  to  her  palace  after  Antony 
had  committed  suicide.  She  tried  to  win  him  by  the  same 
arts  that  had  won  his  "father"  and  his  rival.  Dressed  in  her 
finest  robes  she  came  weeping  to  him,  and  displayed  the  picture 
and  the  letters  of  Julius  wet  with  her  tears.  He  judged  her 
splendour  coldly  as  a  future  ornament  for  his  triumph  at 
Rome,  and  when  she  disappointed  him  of  that  by  a  suicide 
staged  as  all  her  life  had  been  for  theatrical  effect,  he  hunted 
down  her  two  elder  children  with  the  same  cold  ferocity 
as  before.  Policy  forbade  them  to  survive.  That  was  all  he 
thought  of. 

And  now  at  the  age  of  thirty-four,  with  this  record  behind 
him,  he  had  come  back  to  Rome  to  celebrate  his  many  triumphs. 
No  doubt  the  few  remaining  nobles  at  Rome  trembled  at 
his  coming.  Remembering  the  proscriptions  some  of  them 
might  well  tremble,  especially  those  who  had  sided  with 
his  enemies,  with  Sextus  Pompeius,  or  with  L.  Antonius,  or 
with  Marcus.  On  the  other  hand,  some  might  remember  the 
clemency  which  Julius  Caesar  had  displayed  in  his  hour  of 

Augustus  had  to  restore  confidence  and  order  in  a  shattered 
world.  He  had  to  deal  with  provinces  ruined  and  desolate,  a 
form  of  government  quite  visibly  obsolete,  an  aristocracy  with 
immense  traditions  of  pride  and  power  now  thoroughly  corrupt 
and  effete,  a  Roman  mob  which  still  called  itself  lord  of  the 
world,  but  which  was  in  a  political  sense  hopeless,  armies 
which  were  dangerous  to  the  state,  conscious  of  their  power 





and  destitute  of  real  patriotism.  He  had  at  his  side  a  trusty 
general  in  Agrippa,*  who  had  won  many  battles  for  him,  though 
that  in  itself  was  generally  a  dangerous  circumstance,  and  an 
astute  diplomat  in  Maecenas,  who  for  the  past  ten  years  had 
been  governing  Rome  in  Caesar's  name  without  holding  any 
clear  official  position.  But  beyond  these  two  it  was  hard  to 
know  where  to  turn  for  support.  The  civil  wars  and  proscrip- 
tions had  almost  destroyed  the  race  of  Brutus,  but  all  that  was 
left  of  the  aristocracy  was  still  jealous  and  hostile  under  a  cover 
of  abject  sycophancy,  ready  to  stab  him  with  their  tongues  if 
they  had  not  the  courage  to  use  the  stiletto.  Nevertheless, 
Augustus  had  one  great  asset.  The  Roman  world,  exhausted 
with  a  whole  generation's  civil  war,  was  longing  for  repose.  It 
was  ready  to  fall  down  and  worship  the  man  who  would  give 
it  that.  Thus  the  broad  outlines  of  his  policy  were  clear 
before  him.  He  must  undertake  a  work  of  healing.  The  fall 
of  Julius  warned  him  that  he  must  not  be  openly  a  monarch, 
but  the  failure  of  Sulla  and  the  actual  state  of  Rome  were 
equally  eloquent  to  prove  that  he  must  retain  the  power  in  his 
own  hands.  In  the  lassitude  following  upon  grave  illness — for 
the  dangers  and  exposure  of  the  civil  wars  had  shattered  his 
health — he  may  have  cherished  occasional  thoughts  of  a  real 
abdication.  But  in  his  brain  he  must  have  known  that  it  was 
impossible.  It  was,  of  course,  equally  impossible  for  him  to 
govern  the  whole  world  directly  without  help.  For  that  pur. 
pose  the  machinery  of  the  whole  constitution  with  its  senate  and 
magistracies  had  to  be  preserved,  at  any  rate  for  the  present. 
These  were  the  broad  lines  upon  which  his  policy  was  shaped. 
The  splendour  of  Caesar's  triumph  must  have  confirmed  the 
Romans'  impression  that  they  had  now  a  king.  For  three 
days  they  saw  a  constant  procession  of  prisoners,  emblems  of 
captured  cities  and  conquered  princes.  Some  of  Cleopatra's 
surviving  children  were  among  his  train.  The  three  days 
were  apportioned  to  the  three  continents,  the  first  for  the 
Illyrian  war  of  34,  the  second  for  Actium,  and  the  third  for 

*  Plate  27. 



Egypt.  Cartloads  of  money  from  the  Egyptian  treasury  rolled 
up  the  streets,  and  the  bank  rate  at  Rome  fell  instantly  from 
eleven  to  four.  There  was  one  significant  change.  In  old 
republican  days  the  victor  had  been  led  into  the  city  by  his 
colleague  and  the  senators,  now  they  followed  humbly  in  the 
rear.  Lavish  triumphal  gifts  were  distributed :  about  £\  i  to 
every  soldier,  and  about  ^4  to  every  citizen.  Even  the  boys 
got  a  present  in  the  name  of  Caesar's  dear  young  nephew 
Marcellus.  Thus  Caesar  passed  in  his  gold-embroidered  purple 
toga,  with  a  laurel  branch  in  his  hand,  while  a  slave  stood 
behind  holding  a  golden  crown  of  victory  over  his  head.  Of 
the  horses  that  drew  the  chariot  one  was  mounted  by  the 
fourteen-year-old  Marcellus,  famous  for  his  early  death,  and 
for  Vergil's  beautiful  lines  about  him,  and  the  other  by  his 
still  younger  stepson,  Tiberius.  Thus  he  was  drawn  up  to  the 
Capitol  to  deposit  his  laurels  and  his  costly  offerings  at  the  feet 
of  Jupiter. 

There  were  festivities  on  many  a  day  to  follow.     Temples 

were  dedicated,  one  to  the  deified  Julius  and  one  to  Venus,  the 

goddess  mother  of   the  Julian  house.     There  were  games  in 

which  the  foreign  captives  fought  to  the  death.     On  another  day 

the  boys  of  the  nobility  fought  a  Battle  of  Troy  in  the  circus. 

On  another  there  was  a  great  beast-hunt  of  strange  animals 

from  Egypt  when  the  rhinoceros  and  hippopotamus  made  their 

first  appearance  in  Europe.     And  then  for  the  first  time  for 

nearly  two  hundred  years,  that  is,  for  the  first  time  since  the 

Punic  Wars,  the  temple  of   the  war-god  Janus  was  solemnly 

closed.     L?  Empire  c'est  la  paix.     There  are  many  signs  of  the 

earnest  longing  for  Peace  in  the  Roman  world.     "  Pax  "  and 

"  Irene"  became  common  names  in  the  West  and  East;  "  Pax" 

was  the  legend  on   coins.     This  was  a  new  thing  at  Rome. 

Hitherto   war  had   been   the   desired  as  well  as  the  normal 

condition.     But  even  the  Romans  had  now  drunk  their  fill  of 

bloodshed  in  those  dreary  civil  wars.     It  was  upon  this  new 

condition  of  things  that  Augustus  had  the  wisdom  to  build  his 

monarchy.     The  army  was  greatly  reduced  at  once.     Fortu- 


FIG.   I.      ARCH   OF   MARIUS,    ORANGE 

FIG.    2.      S.   LOKKN2O,    MILAN- 
PLATE  xxxin 



nately  the  treasury  of  Egypt  enabled  them  to  be  dismissed  with- 
out dissatisfaction.  The  foreign  hirelings  who  had  served  as  a 
bodyguard  were  replaced  by  native  soldiers.  A  change  in  the 
imperatoSs  form  of  address  to  his  troops  indicated  that  they 
were  now  subject  to  the  civil  rule  of  a  constitutional  state: 
henceforth  they  were  not  "fellow-soldiers"  but  "soldiers." 

And  now  the  work  of  reconstruction  began  in  earnest.  Act- 
ing merely  as  one  of  the  two  consuls  and  in  obedience  to  a 
law  passed  through  the  senate  and  comitia,  Augustus  restored 
the  depleted  ranks  of  the  patrician  order.  It  is  true  that  the 
patricians  had  no  political  privileges  but  they  still  had  great 
significance  in  the  domain  of  religion  and  their  restoration  as 
the  first  official  act  of  the  new  regime  marked  a  deliberate 
desire  to  conciliate  the  aristocracy  and  enlist  its  services  in 
support  of  order.  Then  a  census  of  the  Roman  citizens  was 
taken  for  the  first  time  in  forty  years.  The  number  found  was 
4,063,000  heads,  which  was  to  be  increased  by  170,000  in  the 
next  twenty  years.  The  census  and  purification  of  the  people 
was  accompanied  by  a  revision  of  the  senate-roll.  Here 
Augustus  already  showed  his  intention  to  break  away  from  the 
policy  of  Julius.  Whereas  Julius  had  aroused  the  most  bitter 
resentment  by  introducing  provincials  and  common  soldiers 
into  the  ranks  of  the  senate,  and  Antony  also  had  secured  the 
appointment  of  all  sorts  of  disreputable  friends  of  his  own, 
Augustus  with  infinite  caution  and  tact  reduced,  strengthened, 
and  purified  the  roll.  Then  since  the  numbers  had  been 
reduced  and  it  was  necessary  to  secure  a  respectable  quorum 
for  the  transaction  of  business,  the  senate  was  induced  to  pass 
a  standing  order  that  its  members  must  not  go  abroad  even  to 
the  provinces  without  permission  of  its  president.  As  Caesar 
was  the  president  it  meant  a  concentration  of  all  the  possible 
leaders  of  opposition  at  Rome  and  under  his  eye.  During 
this  same  year,  28  B.C.,  the  other  side  of  Augustan  rule  came 
into  prominence,  the  splendid  liberality  which  turned  Rome 
from  a  decaying  and  ruinous  city  of  brick  into  a  city  of  marble 
and  made  this  epoch  to  stand  out  next  to  that  of  Pericles  as 



an  age  of  brilliant  culture.  No  fewer  than  eighty-two  temples 
were  built  or  restored  in  that  year.  Among  the  rest  a  magnifi- 
cent marble  temple  to  Apollo  with  a  public  library  annexed 
to  it  was  erected  on  the  Palatine.  Libraries  were  new  and 
significant  things  at  Rome.  The  first  had  been  built  by  Vergil's 
patron  Asinius  Pollio  only  nine  years  earlier. 

The  time  was  now  ripe  for  the  all-important  settlement  of 
the  constitution  which  historians  have  agreed  to  call  the  estab- 
lishment of  the  Empire.  It  is  important  to  narrate  the  actual 
proceedings,  at  this  point,  somewhat  more  minutely  than  the 
scope  of  this  work  generally  allows.  The  establishment  of  the 
Empire  was  such  a  delicate  and  equivocal  act  that  it  has  been 
open  to  various  interpretations  ever  since.  Probably  in  the 
clever  brain  of  Augustus  it  was  intended  to  be  equivocal  from 
the  first,  so  that  republican  aristocrats  at  Rome  might  still 
believe  themselves  to  be  free,  while  the  populace  had  a  prince 
to  whom  they  might  look  for  their  patron,  and  the  provincials, 
particularly  those  of  the  orient,  might  have  a  splendid  monarch 
for  their  instincts  of  adulation. 

Towards  the  close  of  the  year  28  Augustus  had  issued  a 
proclamation  formally  reversing  all  the  illegal  acts  of  himself 
and  his  colleagues  during  the  Triumvirate.  It  would  not  call 
the  dead  back  to  life,  it  would  not  restore  Cicero  to  the  senate, 
it  did  not  even  give  back  the  land  to  the  burghers  of  those 
eighteen  confiscated  townships.  But  it  marked  contrition,  and 
restitution  of  some  sort  was  to  follow.  At  the  beginning  of 
his  seventh  consulship  on  January  13,  273.0.,  Caesar  convened 
a  meeting  of  the  senate  and  made  them  a  long  speech  in  which 
he  spoke  with  pride  of  his  own  and  his  "deified  father's" 
benefactions  to  the  state.  At  the  end,  with  a  true  Italian 
instinct  for  the  theatre  he  turned  to  the  astonished  fathers  and 
exclaimed:  "And  now  I  give  back  the  Republic  into  your 
keeping.  The  laws,  the  troops,  the  treasury,  the  provinces 
are  all  restored  to  you.  May  you  guard  them  worthily."  Dio 
Cassius,  who  has  given  us  a  long  speech  certainly  of  his  own 
composition,  paints  the  mingled  feelings  of  the  audience,  the 
1 68 



indifference  of  those  who  were  in  the  secret,  the  uneasiness  of 
those  who  feared  that  it  was  another  trap  to  catch  the  unwary 
and  the  joy  of  those  who  believed  and  hoped.  The  immediate 
reply  of  the  senate  was,  it  appears,  to  grant  him  further  honours 
— the  "  civic  crown "  of  oak  leaves  awarded  to  one  who  had 
saved  the  life  of  a  fellow-citizen,  in  token  that  Augustus  had 
saved  the  lives  of  all  his  countrymen,  and  laurel-trees  to  be 
planted  at  his  gate  in  sign  of  perpetual  victory.  *  Then  they 
conducted  a  long  and  solemn  debate  upon  the  proper  cognomen 
to  be  conferred  upon  their  saviour  and  at  length  decided  upon 
the  name  "Augustus."  In  these  proceedings  we  have  the 
measure  of  the  Augustan  senate.  Already  they  had  the  instinct 
of  courtiers.  Augustus  knew  it,  and  therefore  knew  what  he 
was  about  in  this  dramatic  "restoration  of  the  Republic." 
Coins  of  the  period  bear  the  legend  "Respublica  restituta," 
and  Ovid,  though  a  courtier,  was  free  to  say 

redditaque  est  omnis  populo  prouincia  nostro 
et  tuus  Augusto  nomine  dictus  auus. 

Augustus  himself  records  this  occurrence  in  the  great  inscrip- 
tion, in  which  he  afterwards  described  his  achievements  :  "  In 
my  sixth  and  seventh  consulship,  when  by  universal  consent  I 
had  acquired  complete  dominion  over  everything  both  by  land 
and  sea,  I  restored  the  State  from  my  own  control  into  the 
hands  of  the  Senate  and  People." 

A  few  sessions  later,  but  still  in  the  beginning  of  the  year 
27,  the  senate  decided  upon  its  real  answer,  no  doubt  concocted 
at  the  suggestion  of  Augustus.  The  senate  accepted  the 
restitution  of  most  of  the  provinces,  and  undertook  to  govern 
them  for  the  future  by  means  of  senatorial  magistrates  very 
much  as  they  had  been  governed  of  old.  But  three  provinces 
which  were  still  unsettled,  and  required  soldiers,  and  money, 
and  a  general,  called  for  special  treatment.  Csesar  was  there- 
fore entreated  to  take  for  his  province  Syria,  Gaul,  and  Spain. 
Gaul  was  not  yet  completely  organised;  besides  Julius  had 

*  See  Frontispiece. 


publicly  imposed  the  task  of  adding  Britain  to  it  upon  his 
successor.  Syria  was  of  the  utmost  importance,  because  the 
Parthians  were  still  "riding  unavenged"  flushed  with  fresh 
victories  over  Antony.  This  was  another  of  the  legacies  of 
Julius.  Spain  was  still  largely  unconquered  and  in  great 
disorder.  I  think,  in  opposition  to  Ferrero,  that  military 
needs  were  more  powerful  than  economic  motives  in  the 
selection  of  these  provinces.  It  is  to  be  noted  that  there  was 
no  question  of  the  restitution  of  Egypt.  Caesar  had  never 
completely  given  this  kingdom  to  the  state.  He  still  kept  it 
for  the  sake  of  its  treasures,  as  a  private  domain,  and  governed 
it  through  an  agent,  a  mere  knight,  not  even  a  senator.  Over 
these  three  great  provinces  Augustus  received  consular 
authority — much  as  Pompeius  had  received  it  for  the  war 
against  the  pirates — for  ten  years.  But  at  the  same  time  he 
promised  to  restore  these  provinces  also,  as  soon  as  they  should 
be  completely  pacified.  The  ingenious  nature  of  the  whole 
compromise  will  be  manifest  when  it  is  perceived  that  this 
arrangement  of  provinces  left  the  senate  with  scarcely  a  single 
legion  under  its  command,  while  the  bulk  of  the  Roman  army 
was  concentrated  in  Caesar's  provinces. 

Now  let  us  consider  the  constitutional  position  of  Augustus 
in  these  years  from  27  to  23,  when  a  slight  rearrangement  was 
effected.  Augustus  continued  each  year  to  be  elected  consul 
with  a  colleague  for  one  year,  until  he  had  far  outstripped  even 
the  record  of  Marius.  In  addition  to  this  he  had  "  consular 
power"  over  his  enormous  province,  which  included  all  the 
armies  of  the  state.  That  power  was  ostensibly  granted  for 
ten  years,  but  as  a  matter  of  fact  it  was  renewed  with  some 
ceremony  at  intervals  of  ten  or  five  years  throughout  the 
reign.  Constitutionally  he  was  by  no  means  master  of  the 
world  although,  of  course,  he  was  so  in  reality.  He  says 
himself:  "I  excelled  all  in  prestige,  but  of  authority  I  had  no 
more  than  my  colleagues  in  each  office."  For  the  maintenance 
of  his  domestic  dignity,  he  had  in  addition  to  the  consulship 
various  privileges  of  tribunidan  authority.  His  person  was 


protected  by  the  sanctity  of  that  office,  and  it  is  probable  that 
all  prosecutions  for  treason  were  taken  on  that  point.  He  was 
also  chief  priest.  He  was  also  president  of  the  senate,  princess 
senatus,  but  that  simply  meant  that  his  name  came  first  on  the 
roll,  so  that  he  had  the  right  to  speak  first.  Only  when  Caesar 
said  "aye"  it  would  be  a  bold  man  who  would  say  "no." 

For  the  lawyer  this  exhausts  his  titles  to  power,  but  in 
reality  he  was  something  very  much  more  than  consul  with 
tribunician  powers.  The  one  word  that  embraces  all  his 
authority,  constitutional  and  real  alike,  is  the  word  "princeps." 
"Princeps"  is  not  the  title  of  any  office,  it  merely  expresses 
dignity.  He  is  "  the  chief,"  he  is  "  Caesar  the  August,  the  son 
of  the  God  Julius,  ten  times  hailed  as  general."  It  is  histori- 
cally misleading  to  speak  of  these  early  principes  as  "  Emperors," 
for  that  word  implies  notions  of  purple  and  crowns  really 
foreign  to  their  position,  Any  stout  republican  who  chose  to 
be  deceived  could  still  boast  that  he  was  governed  by  senate 
and  comitia,  by  consuls,  praetors,  aediles,  tribunes,  and  the  rest 
of  them.  It  is  even  historically  false  to  believe  that  the  senate 
and  magistrates  had  ceased  to  exist  for  practical  purposes. 
They  had,  as  we  shall  presently  see,  a  very  real  function  in  the 
state,  especially  when  Caesar  was  abroad,  as  in  the  earlier  years 
of  his  rule  he  constantly  was.  It  was  impossible  for  one  man 
to  govern  the  whole  empire.  Little  by  little  when  a  complete 
imperial  bureaucracy  was  evolved,  the  senate  really  sank  into 
insignificance,  but  for  the  present  Caesar  and  the  senate  were 
to  some  extent  colleagues  in  the  government  of  the  empire. 

It  is  equally  unhistorical  to  assert,  as  does  the  foremost  of 
living  historians  in  Germany,  Dr.  Eduard  Meyer,  that  this 
"  Restoration  "  was  a  genuine  abdication,  and  that  Caesar  only 
continued  to  act  as  the  senate's  executive  officer.  Sometimes 
he  did  act  in  that  capacity,  often  he  made  a  pretence  of  so 
acting.  Especially  when  there  was  anything  disagreeable  to  be 
done,  he  liked  to  get  it  authorised  by  a  decree  of  the  senate. 
But  no  intelligent  Roman  can  have  failed  to  perceive  that  there 
was  no  real  equilibrium  between  Caesar  and  Senate.  Csesar 


had  not  only  the  control  of  nearly  all  the  legions,  but  at  the 
very  gate  of  Rome  he  had  the  only  troops  in  Italy,  the  praetorian 
guard,  at  his  beck  and  call.  Roman  generals  had  always  had 
their  life-guards.  The  law  forbade  the  presence  of  an  army  at 
Rome,  but  Caesar  had  shown  his  usual  ingenuity  in  circum- 
venting the  spirit  of  the  law,  while  respecting  its  letter.  An 
army  meant  a  legion,  and  a  legion  consisted  of  ten  cohorts 
generally  of  three  hundred  men  each.  Very  well,  Caesar  would 
only  have  nine  cohorts.  But  as  each  consisted  of  a  thousand 
men,  he  found  himself  in  command  of  a  force  equal  to  three 
legions  in  permanent  quarters  at  the  gates  of  Rome.  If  he 
thus  had  the  men,  he  had  the  money  too.  The  senatorial 
provinces  were  now,  thanks  to  a  long  regime  of  senatorial 
governors,  mostly  the  poor  ones.  Caesar  had  the  enormous 
treasury  of  Egypt  in  his  pocket,  Spain  was  rich  in  undeveloped 
mines,  and  Gaul  had  great  possibilities  as  yet  unexploited. 
Moreover,  Augustus  had  inherited  an  immense  patrimony  from 
Julius,  and  the  legacies  of  admiring  friends  also  increased  his 
wealth.  Thus  it  came  about  that  the  senatorial  treasury 
simply  could  not  exist  without  help  from  the  imperial  purse. 
His  private  wealth,  too,  enabled  him  to  keep  the  Roman  mob 
happy  with  cheap  or  free  corn,  public  shows,  and  handsome 
buildings,  and  to  satisfy  the  troops  with  lavish  bounties. 
There  was  no  real  equilibrium. 

On  the  other  hand,  Augustus  was  very  careful  not  to  wound 
republican  sensibilities.  He  was  himself  of  a  distinctly  his- 
torical and  antiquarian  turn  of  mind.  He  never  performed 
a  function  or  assumed  an  office  without  assuring  himself  that  it 
was  not  new  to  the  constitution.  Thus  when  he  was  asked  to 
undertake  censorial  duties  he  declined  the  "censorial  authority," 
which  the  senate  conferred  upon  him,  but  carried  out  the  duties 
by  virtue  of  his  power  as  consul,  having  assured  himself  that  in 
the  olden  times  consuls  had  performed  the  duties  of  the 
censor.  He  was  also  most  punctilious  in  his  use  of  forms. 
We  shall  see  later  something  of  the  republican  simplicity  of 
his  mode  of  life.  He  never  failed,  as  his  "divine  father" 





Julius  had  done,  to  treat  the  senate  with  outward  marks  of 
respect.  Call  him  a  "crafty  tyrant"  if  you  will.  It  is  much 
more  just  to  call  him  a  diplomatic  reformer  engaged  in  a  neces- 
sary work  of  repair,  working  it  with  infinite  patience,  tact, 
and  subtlety,  by  the  most  ingenious  system  of  compromises 
known  to  history. 

In  the  year  23  B.C.  there  was  a  slight  and  not  very  impor- 
tant readjustment  of  the  constitutional  situation.  After  his 
return  from  a  troublesome  war  in  Spain,  and  after  a  very 
serious  illness  which  had  brought  him  to  the  brink  of  death,  he 
formally  abdicated  the  consulship,  alleging  his  ill-health  as  the 
motive.  It  was,  indeed,  more  than  a  pretence.  The  continual 
tenure  of  the  consulship  involved  a  continual  series  of  cere- 
monial duties,  which  added  to  the  immense  burdens  of  his 
position.  But  there..were  political  motives  as  well.  He  was 
now  in  his  eleventh  consulship,  and  for  a  nation  of  antiquarians 
it  was  distinctly  unpleasant  that  any  man  should  compile  a  list 
of  this  magnitude.  Moreover,  the  consul  had  to  have  an 
apparently  equal  colleague,  and  there  was  no  longer  at  Rome 
an  unlimited  supply  of  nobles  fit  to  be  Caesar's  colleagues. 
Besides,  it  blocked  the  road  to  honour,  it  was  difficult  to  find 
men  of  consular  rank  for  the  consular  provinces.  More  than 
all,  it  was  unnecessary.  Therefore  in  order  that  he  might  not 
be  molested  with  reproaches,  he  retired  to  his  Alban  Villa,  and 
sent  a  letter  to  the  senate  not  only  renouncing  the  consulship, 
but  suggesting  as  his  successor  a  notorious  republican,  who 
had  fought  for  Brutus  against  him,  and  still  honoured  the 
memory  of  Brutus  as  a  martyr  in  the  cause  of  liberty. 

That  this  was  another  solemn  farce,  or  rather  another  deep 
stroke  of  statecraft,  is  quite  clear.  The  senate  replied  by 
offering  him  the  very  powers  he  needed  to  maintain  his  real 
position  unimpaired.  The  consular  power  over  the  provinces 
was  continued  without  any  new  enactment  as  "proconsular." 
He  received  certain  additional  powers  inherent  in  the  tribunate, 
and  henceforth  dates  his  years  of  rule  not  by  consulships,  but 
years  of  tribunician  power.  His  imperium  over  the  provinces 



was  defined  as  "superior"  to  that  of  other  magistrates,  and 
he  received  the  special  right  which  belonged  to  the  consuls  of 
proposing  a  motion  at  any  meeting  of  the  senate.  Practically, 
then,  he  was  relieved  of  some  tiresome  duties,  his  position  was 
made  to  look  more  republican,  and  at  the  same  time  he  had 
increased  rather  than  diminished  his  authority. 

By  this  time  the  principate  had  taken  its  permanent  form. 
Its  powers  vary  considerably  with  the  varying  force  of  the  in- 
dividual emperors,  and  it  tends  by  mere  prescription  as  well  as 
by  the  development  of  an  administrative  hierarchy  of  officials 
to  grow  more  absolute  as  the  years  advance.  But  consti- 
tutionally very  little  change  was  made  in  the  course  of  the 
next  three  centuries.  It  always  remained  a  compromise,  and 
something  of  illegitimacy  always  clung  to  it.  From  time  to 
time  the  senate  actually  remembered  that  it  was  a  governing 
council.  It  had  always  to  be  reckoned  with.  As  for  the 
comitia  of  the  Populus  Romanus,  they  continued  to  exist  both 
for  legislation  and  elections  as  long  as  Augustus  was  alive. 
But  in  reality  the  princeps  had  taken  the  place  of  the  people  in 
the  government  of  Rome.  Tiberius,  the  next  successor  of 
Augustus,  suppressed  the  comitia  as  unnecessary,  and  though 
once  or  twice  in  later  times  an  antiquarian  emperor  might  get 
a  plebiscite  passed  for  the  sake  of  old  times,  the  Populus 
Romanus  was  extinct.  It  perished  without  a  groan. 

The  personality  of  a  monarch  had  been  thrust  almost  sur- 
reptitiously into  the  frame  of  a  republican  constitution.  Skil- 
fully as  it  had  been  done,  the  illegitimacy  of  the  proceedings 
entailed  certain  awkward  consequences.  There  could  be  no 
open  talk  of  a  succession.  Thus  when  Augustus  recovered 
from  his  grave  illness  in  23  B.C.  he  offered  to  read  his  will  to 
the  senate  to  prove  that  he  had  nominated  no  successor.  On 
the  contrary,  he  had  formally  handed  to  Piso,  the  other  consul, 
a  written  statement  of  the  disposition  of  the  forces  and  the 
moneys  in  the  treasury.  That  was  true  enough,  but  he  had 
handed  his  signet  ring,  the  ring  by  virtue  of  which  Maecenas 
had  governed  Rome  for  ten  years,  to  Agrippa,  the  man  who 




would  certainly  have  taken  his  place  if  he  had  died  at  that  time. 
In  reality  there  is  little  doubt  that  in  his  own  mind  Augustus 
had  planned  to  make  young  Marcellus,  the  brilliant  child  of 
his  beloved  sister  Octavia,  his  heir  and  successor.  That  this 
ultimate  intention  was  plain  to  Agrippa  when  Caesar  recovered 
is  shown  by  Agrippa's  sulky  retirement  into  private  life. 
Although  Augustus  could  not  directly  or  legally  nominate  a 
successor,  he  could  train  a  young  prince  for  the  succession, 
and  in  his  own  lifetime  raise  him  to  such  a  point  of  honour 
that  he  would  naturally  step  into  the  vacant  place.  The  newly 
born  Empire  had  the  great  good  fortune  that  Augustus,  in 
spite  of  his  feeble  health,  lived  to  a  ripe  age  and  held  the 
principate  for  forty-one  years.  But  it  had  the  misfortune  to  be 
governed  by  a  sterile  race.  Not  for  a  hundred  years  until 
Titus,  did  a  son  succeed  his  father.  Augustus  had  nephews, 
stepchildren,  and  grandchildren,  but  he  had  only  one  child  by 
his  three  wives,  and  she  was  the  immoral  Julia.  All  his  life 
long  he  was  vexed  with  tiresome  dynastic  problems,  and  each 
youth  whom  he  selected  for  his  successor  seemed  to  be  destined 
to  a  premature  death.  At  the  last  he  was  driven  sorely  against 
his  will  to  nominate  his  stepson  Tiberius.  This  fact  is 
mentioned  here  because  it  is  surely  a  vital  fact  in  determining 
the  future  of  the  principate.  If  each  of  the  first  half-dozen 
holders  of  that  office  had  been  surrounded  by  a  blooming 
family  on  the  scale  of  modern  royalty,  it  is  very  likely  that  the 
principate  would  have  settled  down  quietly  into  a  hereditary 
monarchy.  As  it  was,  the  whole  system  was  upset  by  continual 
intrigues  for  the  succession,  often  leading  to  actual  civil  war- 
fare. Thus  the  army  and  the  praetorian  guard  came  to  acquire 
its  fatal  domination  over  Roman  politics. 


For  all  his  moderation  Augustus  had  successfully  gathered 
all  the  strings  of  policy  into  his  own  hands.  In  his  three 
revisions  of  the  senate-list  he  succeeded  in  securing  a  body 
absolutely  subservient  to  his  wishes,  and  the  only  trouble  it 



caused  him  was  by  its  excess  of  zeal  for  his  dignity.  As  a  rule 
it  merely  registered  his  decrees,  conferred  honours  on  the 
kinsmen  he  delighted  to  honour,  and  sometimes  shouldered 
the  responsibility  for  an  unpopular  proposal.  It  was  to  some 
extent  a  safety-valve  for  the  expression  of  public  opinion,  but 
the  more  tyrannical  emperors  (and  Augustus  undoubtedly 
became  more  absolute  as  his  system  developed)  kept  a  very 
tight  hand  upon  it.  When  an  embassy  came  from  an  indepen- 
dent foreign  power,  such  as  Parthia,  it  went  first  to  a  powerful 
senator,  just  as  in  republican  days  to  seek  a  patronus  or 
champion.  Now  that  champion  was,  of  course,  none  other  than 
the  princeps.  By  him  the  ambassadors  were  introduced  to  the 
senate,  who  heard  their  case  and  deliberated  upon  it.  As  of 
old,  they  would  necessarily  entrust  the  settlement  of  the  matter 
to  a  commissioner  chosen  from  their  own  body.  Again,  the 
commissioner  was  of  course  the  princeps.  The  senate  some- 
times undertook  state  impeachments  as  a  high  court  of  justice, 
but  now  it  was  only  Caesar's  enemies  whom  they  impeached, 
and  in  one  case — that  of  the  prefect  of  Egypt — they  displayed 
an  excess  of  zeal  in  Caesar's  cause  which  brought  down  a 
rebuke  upon  their  heads.  The  senate  was  used  often  as  a 
medium  of  publication.  Caesar  would  go  down  to  the  house 
and  read  a  speech  to  them  when  he  intended  to  reach  a  wider 
public.  When  he  was  abroad,  he  would  send  regular  reports 
and  despatches  to  them.  Caesar,  like  all  Roman  magistrates, 
had  his  consilium  or  board  of  advisers.  This  was  now 
organised  to  consist  of  so  many  representative  senators,  who 
sat  in  conjunction  with  the  young  princes  of  the  imperial  house, 
and  any  other  important  people  whom  Caesar  might  select  for 
his  privy  council.  Towards  the  end,  when  Augustus  grew  old 
and  infirm,  a  committee  of  senators  sitting  in  the  palace  was 
competent  to  transact  business.  But  as  a  rule  he  was  very 
careful  to  respect  the  senatorial  traditions.  Decrees  of  the 
senate  and  laws  were  passed  with  all  the  old  formalities,  but 
now  they  were  all  in  reality  Caesar's  laws  and  Caesar's  decrees. 
On  the  whole,  however,  we  may  well  believe  that  the  senate's 



decline  into  impotence  was  largely  its  own  fault.  So  far  as  the 
records  show,  the  Augustan  senate  never  displayed  the  least 
trace  of  spirit  or,  if  that  is  too  much  to  expect,  even  of  initiative 
or  efficiency.  There  was  grumbling  and  a  little  feeble  plotting, 
but  if  the  senate  had  chosen  to  take  Augustus  at  his  word  when- 
ever he  spoke  of  abdication,  they  might  easily  have  recovered 
real  power,  though  indeed  they  could  not  have  done  without  a 
princeps.  For  one  thing  the  mob  would  not  have  suffered 
it.  Caesar  was,  and  remained,  the  patron  of  the  inarticulate 
commons,  and  that  was  not  only  the  origin  of  the  principate 
but  the  main  support  of  its  power  throughout.  When  we  speak 
of  unpopular  emperors  such  as  Nero  or  Domitian  we  generally 
mean  only  that  they  were  unpopular  with  the  notables  of  the 
senate.  If  they  failed  to  retain  the  regard  of  the  common 
people  and  the  common  soldiers  their  reigns  speedily  came  to 
an  end.  Caesar's  pretended  abdication  in  23  B.C.  was  shortly 
afterwards  followed  by  a  famine  at  Rome  and  the  populace 
besieged  the  senate-house,  threatening  it  with  fire  unless  fresh 
powers  were  conferred  upon  their  champion. 

German  historians  have  invented  the  term  Dyarchy  to 
describe  the  balance  of  power  between  Caesar  and  senate.  The 
government  of  Rome  had  always  been  to  some  extent  a  Dyarchy 
of  senate  and  people  as  its  title  shows — "  Senatus  Populusque 
Romanus."  In  many  respects  the  princeps  had  taken  the  place 
of  the  people.  But  such  a  description  loses  sight  of  reality. 
You  cannot  in  this  whole  period  show  an  army  set  in  motion 
by  a  senatorial  governor  without  authority  from  Augustus, 
save  in  the  single  case  of  M.  Primus  when  it  was  instantly 
followed  by  a  prosecution ;  nor  a  single  tax  imposed,  nor  a  law 
so  much  as  proposed  without  Caesar's  authority,  nor  a  candidate 
elected  without  his  concurrence,  nor  a  treaty  made  otherwise 
than  in  accordance  with  his  suggestion.  The  true  relation 
between  them  is  practically  that  of  a  monarch  and  his  council. 
Three  times  Caesar  revised  the  roll  of  the  senate,  reducing  it 
from  over  one  thousand  members  to  six  hundred,  and  for  all 
his  tact  and  ingenuity  arousing  the  fiercest  resentment.  There 

M  177 


were  violent  scenes  in  the  house,  Augustus  wore  a  shirt  of 
mail,  and  went  accompanied  by  ten  stalwart  senators.  It  is 
clear  that  he  was  purging  the  house  of  his  opponents  just  as 
Cromwell  did.  On  other  occasions  he  would  present  his 
friends  with  the  amount  of  property  needed  to  complete  their 
qualification  for  the  senate.  Thus  it  is  no  exaggeration  to 
call  the  senate  his  council  of  state.  If  it  is  objected  that  the 
senate  still  governed  rich  and  important  provinces,  that  is  more 
apparent  than  true.  No  longer  did  the  governor  of  a  senatorial 
province  go  out  girt  with  the  sword  that  signifies  imperium 
or  wearing  the  military  cloak.  Now  he  goes  in  his  toga  as 
a  mere  civilian  functionary.  That  little  change  must  have 
been  bitterly  galling  to  the  proud  aristocracy.  Augustus  had 
persuaded  them  to  pass  an  ordinance  forbidding  them  to  go 
abroad  without  his  permission.  He  made  them  fine  their 
members  for  non-attendence,  and  it  is  highly  significant  that 
it  was  difficult  to  keep  a  quorum  of  the  senate  for  public 
business.  He  chose  his  own  order  for  asking  their  opinions 
and  thus  promoted  them  in  honour  or  degraded  them  as  he 
pleased.  It  was  mainly  the  poor  and  unimportant  provinces 
which  had  fallen  to  their  share.  Asia  was  the  richest  and 
most  important,  but  almost  throughout  the  period  there  is  some 
scion  of  the  imperial  house  with  a  general  control  over  the 
affairs  of  the  East.  There  is  an  inscription  in  Cyprus  which 
proves  that  even  when  that  island  was  under  senatorial 
government  a  proconsul  was  sent  out  "by  the  authority  of 
Caesar  and  a  decree  of  the  senate  "  to  restore  order.  Finally 
by  the  end  of  the  reign  the  senate  had  become  so  feeble  and 
unreal  that  twenty  of  its  members  sitting  in  Caesar's  house 
were  able  to  pass  decrees  which  had  the  full  validity  of  the 
old  sovereign  council  of  Rome. 

These  considerations  are  enough  to  prove  that  Monarchy 
is  the  only  term  which  can  properly  describe  the  real  nature  of 
the  new  government.  Nevertheless,  here  as  elsewhere  in  this 
system  of  compromise  and  half-way  houses,  we  must  walk 
warily  between  two  fallacies.  The  senate  is  there  and  will 




always  be  there.  When  Constantine  made  a  new  Rome  he 
made  a  new  senate.  As  we  study  the  subsequent  progress  of 
the  Empire  we  shall  sometimes  find  the  senate  really  supreme. 
It  chose  Galba  and  Nerva.  It  dared  to  depose  Maximin.  It 
really  governed  through  Tacitus  and  Probus.  It  was  its  con- 
stant aim  to  get  its  members  declared  immune  from  prosecution 
and  sometimes  it  succeeded ;  but  more  often  it  served  as  a 
whipping-stock  when  Caesar  was  in  a  bad  temper.  Only  in 
this  sense  is  there  any  meaning  in  the  term  Dyarchy :  if  we  take 
the  whole  period  of  the  principate  from  Augustus  to  Diocletian 
there  is  some  trace  of  equilibrium,  faint  though  it  be.  And  we 
must  not  fall  into  the  error  of  despising  the  letter  of  a  constitu- 
tion for  the  sake  of  its  spirit.  Though  a  king  of  England 
never  refuses  a  bill  in  practice,  it  nevertheless  remains  impor- 
tant that  he  may.  The  letter  is  always  there  for  reference,  if 
not  for  use,  and  the  spirit  is  always  liable  to  be  brought  up  for 
trial  before  it.  The  practice  depends  upon  personal  forces 
which  are  transitory,  the  theory  is  always  there  awaiting  its 


Nevertheless,  if  it  is  to  the  letter  of  the  constitution  that  one 
appeals,  we  must  not  forget  the  existence  of  a  third  element  in 
the  constitution  of  Augustus — the  People.  As  we  have  seen, 
the  plebiscite  and  the  lex  still  passed  formally  through  the 
comitia.  The  plebiscite  had  of  late  republican  years  become 
a  weapon  of  opposition  to  the  senate.  Yet  even  under 
Augustus  we  can  point  to  a  few  measures  passed  in  this  form. 
None  were  of  much  importance — one  was  merely  the  conferring 
of  the  new  title  of  "Father  of  his  Country"  upon  Caesar. 
Another  concerned  aqueducts.  The  judicial  functions  of  the 
populus  were  entirely  abrogated  by  Augustus,  and  there  only 
remained  that  which,  after  all,  had  always  been  its  most  im- 
portant function,  the  elections.  Popular  election  in  the  comitia 
was  still  under  Augustus,  the  only  path  to  the  senate  and  the 
magistracies.  It  is  true  that  the  magistracies  had  all  paled 



into  insignificance  before  the  new  and  mighty  office  of  the 
princeps.  For  this  reason,  perhaps,  Augustus  did  not  deprive 
them  of  what  they  regarded  not  only  as  an  ancient  right,  but 
still  more  as  a  source  of  income.  Here  also  there  might  have 
been  effective  opposition.  The  populus  might  have  returned 
to  office,  and  so  to  the  senate,  a  series  of  champions  of  freedom. 
But  except  Egnatius  Rufus,  there  were  no  such  champions. 
The  patron  of  the  people,  the  man  whose  munificence  fed  them 
and  gave  them  the  shows  they  lived  for,  was  Caesar.  No  one 
could  bribe  against  his  purse.  He  had,  moreover,  two  direct 
methods  of  securing  the  return  of  his  nominees.  In  virtue  of 
his  tribunician  powers  he  had  the  right  to  draw  up  the  list 
of  candidates,  and  in  the  second  place  it  had  always  been  the 
practice  for  candidates  to  put  forward  the  names  of  their 
principal  supporters.  Augustus  in  his  early  days  of  strict 
deference  to  constitutional  etiquette  used  to  go  down  to  the 
forum  and  personally  canvass  for  his  friends,  afterwards,  how- 
ever, he  reverted  to  the  brusquer  methods  of  Julius,  aud  merely 
issued  a  fly-sheet  to  the  electors  bearing  the  names  of  his 
nominees.  Thus  the  elections  became  more  and  more  a  form, 
and  Tiberius  transferred  them  to  the  senate  without  arousing 
much  opposition.  In  the  whole  period  of  Augustus  we  have 
only  one  instance  of  his  failure  to  pass  a  law  which  he  desired 
and  then  it  was  due  to  the  organised  opposition  of  the  knights 
who  demanded  its  rejection  publicly  in  the  theatre. 

The  equestrian  order  still  remained  the  stronghold  of  the 
wealthy  bourgeoisie.  Owing  to  their  wealth  and  their  want  of 
political  recognition,  they  had  always  been  somewhat  of  a 
danger  to  the  republican  constitution.  It  is  typical  of  the 
skilful  statesmanship  of  Augustus  that  he  saw  this  and  provided 
an  honourable  outlet  for  their  ambitions  as  well  as  utilising 
their  services  on  behalf  of  the  state.  He  had  begun  his  period 
of  rule  by  putting  a  mere  eques  into  the  seat  of  the  Ptolemies 
as  his  prefect  of  Egypt.  Subsequently  the  imperial  legates  and 
procurators  who  administered  the  imperial  provinces  for  him 
were  often  chosen  from  this  order.  In  finance  he  made  great 
1 80 


FIG.    2.     GEM  OF  AUGUSTUS 


use  of  them,  and  along  with  a  certain  number  of  clever  Greek 
freedmen  they  filled  the  greater  part  of  the  new  bureaucracy 
which  he  gradually  created.  Maecenas  himself,  who  was 
probably  at  the  head  of  the  whole  great  system,  and  who  acted 
almost  as  prime  minister  to  Augustus  until  he  fell  out  of 
favour,  was  content  with  equestrian  rank.  Social  honours  such 
as  rich  men  love  were  freely  bestowed  upon  them.  The  young 
princes  of  the  imperial  house  rode  at  the  head  of  the  knights 
with  silver  lances  as  "Princes  of  the  Youth."  Sometimes 
Augustus  treated  the  equestrian  order  as  if  it  were  a  third  limb 
of  the  constitution  on  an  equality  with  the  senate  and  people. 

Thus  it  was  part  of  the  system  of  Augustus  to  provide 
careers  for  talent  in  every  class.  Even  the  slaves  and  freedmen 
had  immense  opportunities  in  Caesar's  bureaux.  For  the  freed- 
men  in  the  country  towns,  where  they  were  often  the  richest 
inhabitants,  he  invented  the  special  titular  distinction  of 
"Augustals,"  their  principal  duty  being  to  give  dinners  and 
festivals  in  his  honour,  precisely  the  sort  of  duty  to  flatter  their 
pride  without  doing  any  harm. 

As  for  the  ancient  magistracies  of  the  Roman  people,  while 
they  were  strictly  preserved,  they  were  utterly  disarmed. 
Consulships  remain  important  only  as  leading  to  a  subsequent 
proconsulship  over  a  province.  The  praetors  still  sat  in  their 
courts  of  justice  but  really  important  cases  came  up  to  Caesar 
on  appeal.  The  tribunes  were  of  no  account  beside  their  mighty 
colleague.  Magistracies  were  bestowed  as  marks  of  imperial 
favour.  Often  there  would  be  two  or  three  successive  consuls 
in  a  single  year.  Caesar  himself  would  sometimes  deign  to 
take  a  consulship  when  he  wished  to  honour  a  colleague  or  a 
relative.  Here  again,  however,  the  impotence  of  the  magistracies 
was  very  largely  due  to  the  intellectual  bankruptcy  of  the 
Roman  nobility.  They  could  not  perform  the  simplest  task 
such  as  the  charge  of  the  corn-supply  without  bungling  and 
requiring  the  assistance  of  Caesar.  But  on  one  occasion  when 
a  certain  eedile  organised  a  fire-brigade  of  his  own  and  became 
very  zealous  in  extinguishing  fires,  he  received  a  hint  that  his 



zeal  was  unwelcome  in  the  highest  quarters.  Thus  the 
magistracies  declined  little  by  little  into  mere  decorations,  or 
became  once  more  what  they  had  been  in  the  beginning,  muni- 
cipal officers  for  the  city  of  Rome.  But  even  there  they  were 
superseded  by  the  organising  activity  of  the  princeps.  He 
resuscitated  the  ancient  office  of  city  prefect  and  put  him  in 
charge  of  the  new  police  and  the  new  fire-brigade  while  two 
other  new  prefects  commanded  the  praetorian  guards.  These 
two  officers  soon  began  to  overshadow  the  old  magistracies. 


Dio  Cassius  rightly  asserts  that  the  real  power  of  Augustus 
rested  upon  two  things — the  control  of  the  army  and  of 
the  finances.  We  have  already  seen  that  in  the  so-called 
abdications  of  Augustus  there  was  no  surrender  of  these 
and  no  suggestion  of  their  surrender.  In  view  of  the 
present  tendency  among  historians  to  attach  real  importance  to 
the  restoration  of  the  Republic  in  27  B.C.  and  again  in  23  B.C.  it 
is  all  the  more  important  to  remember  that  the  twenty-three 
legions  which  with  their  auxiliaries  and  reserves  formed  the 
entire  military  force  of  the  Roman  Empire  took  their  oath 
solely  to  Augustus  and  were  with  one  exception  stationed 
exclusively  in  his  provinces,  fought  under  his  auspices  and 
took  their  orders  from  no  other  but  Caesar  and  his  legates. 
Beyond  these  he  had  a  praetorian  corps  of  9000  men  in  per- 
manent cantonments  within  striking  distance  of  Rome,  as  well 
as  a  drilled  bodyguard  of  slaves  in  his  own  house.  In  view  of 
these  facts  it  is  absurd  to  limit  our  conception  of  the  power  of 
Caesar  to  a  survey  of  the  constitutional  offices  which  he  held. 
It  is  only  in  the  language  of  lawyers  and  pedants  that  his 
authority  rested  upon  consular  and  tribunician  powers.  Every- 
body knew  that  a  letter  sealed  with  Caesar's  sphinx  was  backed 
by  the  swords  of  140,000  legionaries.  The  military  situation 
of  Augustus  is  therefore  of  the  utmost  importance. 

Augustus  was,  as  we  have  seen,  a  statesman  and  not  a 
soldier.  The  stories  of  his  cowardice,  repeated  by  Suetonius, 



Manscll  &  Co. 


are  confessedly  drawn  from  the  venomous  letters  of  his  enemy, 
Antony.  Augustus  had  emerged  successfully  through  five  civil 
wars,  had  crossed  tempestuous  seas  in  small  boats,  had  faced 
mutinous  armies  and  every  sort  of  hardship.  But  all  his 
instincts  were  for  peace  and  statecraft.  We  have  seen  that  it 
was  the  need  of  a  standing  army  at  Rome  which  led  to  the 
need  of  permanent  generals,  and  this  to  the  downfall  of  the 
old  Roman  constitution.  When  Caesar  built  his  throne  on  the 
ruins  of  the  Republic  the  plain  fact  was  that  the  general  had 
become  monarch.  Thus,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  Augustus 
was  not  of  a  military  character,  and  in  spite  of  all  his  efforts  to 
prevent  it,  the  monarchy  of  the  Roman  Empire  was  eventually 
revealed  as  a  military  despotism.  It  was  the  irony  of  fate 
that  such  a  man  as  Augustus  should  have  founded  such  a 

But  for  the  present  the  ugly  fact  that  the  army  had  bestowed 
the  purple  was  decently  concealed.  Augustus  from  the  very 
beginning  of  his  power  did  his  best  to  reduce  the  military 
element  in  the  state.  During  the  civil  wars,  and  indeed  for 
fifty  years  before  they  began,  the  troops  had  made  and  un- 
made consuls,  there  had  been  constant  mutinies  and  blackmail 
in  the  army.  Caesar's  own  first  consulship  had  been  obtained 
in  this  way.  A  centurion  had  marched  into  the  senate-house 
and  cried,  "If  you  will  not  make  him  consul,  this" — and  he 
tapped  the  hilt  of  his  sword — "  this  shall."  But  now  the  older 
discipline  was  revived.  Agrippa  in  particular  was  a  stern 
disciplinarian  of  the  old  school.  The  soldiers  were  flattered 
no  longer.  No  more  legionary  coins  were  issued.  For  an 
honour  a  legion  was  allowed  to  call  itself  Augusta,  for  a 
punishment  the  title  was  revoked.  The  highest  military 
distinction,  the  triumph,  was  gradually  reserved  for  the  princeps 
and  the  members  of  his  house  alone.  Even  when  the  title  of 
Imperator  was  earned  by  a  victorious  general  it  was  trans- 
ferred to  him.  But  it  was  his  aim  to  see  that  no  private 
citizen  should  have  the  opportunity  of  securing  the  high 
military  honours.  Agrippa  might  have  been  dangerous  and 



accordingly  he  was  brought  into  the  family  by  marriage  with 
Caesar's  daughter.  But  for  the  rest  the  conduct  of  important 
operations  was  almost  always  confided  to  one  of  the  young 
princes — to  Tiberius,  or  Drusus,  or  Germanicus.  And  they 
were  always  victorious.  When  Quintilius  Varus,  a  general 
of  humbler  birth,  was  allowed  to  lead  a  great  army  he  con- 
veniently pointed  the  moral  by  a  signal  failure.  No  senatorial 
governor  might  now  levy  troops  or  declare  war  on  his  own 

The  only  hand  that  the  senate  still  had  in  military  affairs 
was  that  a  "senatus  consultum  "  was  generally  asked  for  a  new 
levy  of  troops.  This  was  probably  because  it  concerned  the  state 
treasury,  but  partly  also  because  it  served  to  shift  an  unpleasant 
responsibility  off  the  shoulders  of  the  princeps.  It  is  not  likely 
that  Augustus  had  forgone  the  right  to  levy. 

It  still  remained  the  legal  duty  of  every  Roman  citizen  to 
serve  in  the  army.  But  since  the  days  of  Marius  that  duty  had 
become  obsolete,  no  one  wanted  the  city  riff-raff  in  the  legions. 
Soldiering  had  become  a  profession,  and  there  was  never  now 
any  general  levy  of  the  kind  involved  in  modern  conscription. 
There  must  have  been  some  compulsion  upon  the  upper  classes 
to  serve  as  officers,  for  Suetonius  tells  of  a  Roman  knight  who 
was  sold  into  slavery  because  he  had  chopped  off  his  son's 
thumbs  in  order  to  evade  military  service.  There  had  been  a 
"  City  Legion "  fighting  at  Actium,  but  the  army  was  now 
mainly  recruited  from  Italy  and  the  imperial  provinces.  Allied 
princes  like  Herod  the  Great  had  their  own  militias,  but  were 
also  liable  to  be  asked  for  contributions  of  trained  auxiliaries 
to  the  imperial  army.  From  the  provinces  troops  were  demanded 
in  proportion  to  their  warlike  activity.  The  Dutch  horsemen 
were  famous,  and  the  Batavians  supplied  large  contributions  of 
cavalry.  The  only  people  in  the  East  who  were  enrolled  in 
the  legions  were  the  Galatians,  who  were,  of  course,  Gauls  by 
ancestry.  Augustus  himself  had  a  bodyguard  of  German 
slaves.  As  a  rule  only  freemen  were  enrolled  in  the  legions, 
but  at  the  crisis  of  the  great  Pannonian  and  German  revolts, 




-*•""••  '-  '  — f 

.    \ 


'.<</« '/dflMK i»  iw  wfltMn ww nw n  TO  7»  w  'i» TO  At  v  V4<  •:»  •/«  _  _. 

;  ••.» 





the  duty  was  laid  upon  rich  citizens  of  equipping  and  maintain- 
ing for  six  months  a  certain  number  of  freedmen  and  slaves 
who  were  promised  their  liberty  and  citizenship  at  the  end  of 
six  months.  These  would  probably  consist  very  largely  of 
gladiators.  This  fact  is  evidence  of  serious  military  weakness 
in  the  Roman  Empire.  Although  there  were  over  four  million 
full  Roman  citizens,  there  were  only  about  140,000  men  in  the 
ranks  of  the  legions,  and  as  there  was  a  very  long  period  of 
service,  twenty-five  years  and  more,  it  follows  that  only  a 
small  number  of  recruits  would  be  wanted  every  year.  It 
seems  a  dangerously  small  army  to  hold  such  vast  frontiers. 

Augustus  was  successful  in  reducing  the  enormous  rate  of 
pay  which  had  prevailed  during  the  civil  wars.  After  the 
death  of  Augustus  the  troops  mutinied  and  demanded  an 
increase  of  their  pay  to  a  denarius  (less  than  a  franc)  a  day. 
Augustus  established  a  special  military  chest  to  provide 
pensions  for  his  veterans  in  place  of  the  farms  which  they  were 
still  accustomed  to  expect. 

How  greatly — how  dangerously — Augustus  had  reduced 
the  size  of  the  army  may  be  seen  from  the  fact  that  there  were 
at  least  fifty  legions  during  the  civil  wars,  and  only  twenty-five 
at  the  death  of  Augustus.  These  troops  were  for  the  most 
part  stationed  along  the  northern  and  eastern  frontiers. 

In  Spain  3  legions 

Lower  Germany  4  „ 

Upper  Germany  4  „ 

Pannonia  3  „ 

Dalmatia  2  „ 

Mcesia  2  „ 

Syria  3  „ 

Egypt  3    » 

Africa  I 

To  these  must  be  added  the  9000  men  of  the  praetorian  guard, 
who  enjoyed  shorter  service  (sixteen  years)  and  double  pay. 
The  praetorians  had  to  be  genuine  Italians,  and  when  inside  the 
walls  of  Rome  wore  civilian  dress.  There  were  also  three 



"  urban  cohorts  "  as  police — a  new  and  most  salutary  invention 
— and  a  "cohort  of  watchmen"  for  the  prevention  of  fire. 
Obviously  with  a  service  of  twenty-five  years  there  could  be 
no  reserve.  But  some  of  the  veterans  of  the  praetorian  guard 
were  used  as  paymasters  or  engineers.  There  were  also  colonies 
of  time-expired  soldiers  planted  as  garrisons  in  dangerous 

The  legions  themselves  were  stationed  in  great  fortified 
camps  along  the  frontiers  of  their  various  provinces.  There 
were  thus  huge  spaces  of  country  totally  without  military  forces. 
For  warfare  on  the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea  troops  had  to  be 
summoned  from  Syria.  There  was  no  such  thing  as  a  readily 
mobilised  striking  force  in  Italy.  This  was  an  inconvenience 
and  a  danger,  but  Augustus  did  not  mean  to  organise  a 
military  monarchy.  Professor  Gardthausen  has  a  clever  com- 
parison of  the  problems  before  the  Roman  army  with  those 
that  face  the  British  Empire.  The  problems  were  remarkably 
similar,  for  greater  speed  of  transport  counteracts  the  greater 
distances.  Both  peoples  made  great  use  of  the  system  of 
drilling  native  troops  and  expecting  provinces  to  guard  them- 
selves. But  the  Romans  would  have  been  saved  much  trouble 
if  they  had  been  able  to  adopt  our  system  of  a  compact  and 
highly  trained  expeditionary  force  backed  by  a  citizen  army  for 
home  defence.  To  be  sure,  the  Romans  now  lived  in  a  state 
of  peace  far  more  profound  than  any  that  the  world  has  en- 
joyed before  or  since.  Their  wars  were  of  their  own  making. 
Within  the  circle  of  the  armed  frontiers  Pax  Romana  reigned 
supreme.  The  Roman  citizens  hung  up  their  swords  for 

The  creation  of  a  standing  fleet  was  not  the  least  of  Caesar's 
achievements.  The  Mediterranean  was  now  properly  policed 
and  commerce  was  free  to  circulate.  The  Italian  navy  was 
divided  into  two  flotillas,  one  for  the  Western  Mediterranean 
and  one  for  the  Adriatic.  Great  artificial  docks  were  con- 
structed for  them,  one  for  the  Mediterranean  fleet  at  Misenum 
by  opening  up  a  connection  between  the  Avernian  and  Lucrine 
1 86 


lakes  and  the  sea  and  thus  creating  a  small  land-locked  harbour 
which  was  used  for  exercising  the  rowers  in  rough  weather. 
The  construction  of  this  Portus  Julius,  which  was  carried  out 
by  Agrippa  with  a  lofty  disregard  both  of  the  gastronomic  fame 
of  the  Lucrine  oysters  and  of  the  mythological  celebrity  of  the 
lake  of  Avernus  as  the  gateway  to  the  underworld,  excited  a 
wonder  which  has  been  reflected  both  by  Horace  and  Vergil. 

Similarly  a  base  for  the  Adriatic  fleet  was  constructed  by 
great  engineering  works  at  Ravenna.  A  third  harbour  was 
created  on  the  coast  of  Gaul  at  Frejus  (Forum  Julii).  The 
Tiber  was  dredged  and  restored  to  navigation.  Flotillas  of 
small  vessels  were  maintained  on  the  Rhine. 

The  navy,  however,  did  not  even  in  these  days  attain  to 
anything  like  the  status  of  the  army.  It  was  "  my  fleet " — the 
private  property  of  the  emperor,  equipped  and  maintained  out 
of  his  own  pocket,  and  manned  chiefly  by  his  slaves.  Even 
the  "prefects  of  the  fleet"  were  generally  freedmen  and 
foreigners.  A  Roman  admiral,  as  Mommsen  remarks,  ranked 
below  a  procurator  or  a  tax-collecter.  Thus  the  Romans  never 
to  the  end  of  their  days  realised  the  meaning  or  importance  of 
sea-power.  Their  navy  was  only  for  police  work  and  on  several 
occasions,  as  for  example  in  the  Dalmatian  War,  they  failed  to 
perceive  that  naval  operations  might  have  been  of  the  greatest 
assistance  to  their  army.  It  is  true  that  there  were  no  hostile 
navies  in  the  world,  but  the  empire  was  so  distributed  that 
marine  communication  might  have  been  of  very  great  value. 

The  control  of  finance  was  a  necessary  corollary  to  the  control 
of  the  troops.  The  Republic  had  been  shipwrecked  on  finance 
almost  as  much  as  on  the  military  system,  and  there  is  some 
truth  in  Mommsen's  epigram:  "the  Romans  had  bartered 
their  liberty  for  the  corn-ships  of  Egypt."  Perhaps  the  most 
sinister  light  in  which  we  can  regard  the  statesmanship  of 
Augustus  is  that  suggested  by  Tacitus.  He  was  buying  the 
support  of  all  classes  in  the  state  systematically.  But  to  that 
the  Republic  had  already  accustomed  them. 

We  must  clear  our  minds  of  the  modern  idea  of  a  budget 


and  a  coherent  public  system  of  finance.  The  Romans  had 
never  paid  taxes  and  their  financial  administration  had  rested 
in  the  hands  of  young  men  just  beginning  their  public  career  as 
quzestors.  This  was  because  finance  was  a  comparatively  recent 
idea  at  Rome.  It  was  not  part  of  the  mos  maiorum  at  Rome 
to  have  a  financial  policy,  and  Rome  had  always  been  a  military 
and  not  a  commercial  state.  Even  now  it  was  a  cheap  empire. 
If  we  except  the  corn-supply,  the  pay  of  the  army  was  the  only 
large  head  of  expenditure.  On  the  whole,  one  with  another, 
the  provinces  were  more  than  self-supporting,  and  as  time  went 
on  a  prudent  policy  of  development  made  them  extremely 
profitable.  As  we  shall  see  later,  the  encouragement  of  natural 
resources  and  the  exploitation  of  minerals  all  over  the  Empire 
added  enormously  to  the  Roman  wealth.  Officials  and  magis- 
trates had  generally  been  expected  not  only  to  give  their 
services  for  nothing  but  even  to  pay  for  their  honours  hand- 
somely with  public  works  and  entertainments.  Public  works 
undertaken  by  the  state  were  generally  carried  out  by  slaves 
or  soldiers.  When  marble  was  needed  it  was  usually  requisi- 
tioned from  Greece  or  Numidia.  But  it  was  inevitable  that 
the  man  who  controlled  the  army  should  also  possess  the 
revenues.  Julius  Caesar  had  simply  appropriated  the  treasury. 
Augustus  as  usual  reached  the  same  end  by  a  more  devious 

The  enormous  treasures  which  he  disbursed  were  his 
favourite  weapons  of  statecraft.  If  he  had  a  friend  to  get  into 
the  senate  he  would  simply  make  him  a  present  of  the  necessary 
income.  To  retain  the  goodwill  of  the  commons  he  scattered 
those  immense  largesses  which  he  has  recorded  on  the  Ancyran 
monument.  To  the  Roman  plebs  he  distributed  over  six 
millions  sterling  in  eight  donations.  On  another  occasion  of 
financial  stress  he  lent  more  than  half  a  million  without  interest. 
When  the  soldiers  had  to  be  rewarded  after  Actium  he  was  able 
to  save  himself  from  the  unpopular  necessity  of  confiscation  by 
finding  six  millions  in  cash  to  buy  them  land.  There  was 
scarcely  a  town  in  the  empire  which  had  not  some  splendid 



FIG.    2.      ROMAN    RELIEF 



building  to  bear  witness  of  its  debt  to  Caesar's  generosity,  and 
we  shall  see  how  he  transformed  the  whole  aspect  of  the 
metropolis.  In  addition  to  all  this  he  often  replenished  the 
state  treasury  out  of  his  own  pocket.  Over  a  million  and  a 
half  was  thus  transferred.  No  wonder  that  a  man  who  could 
thus  pour  his  gold  into  the  treasury  should  come  to  regard  it 
as  his  own. 

To  the  Roman  mind  it  was  unbecoming  to  a  free  gentleman 
to  be  asked  to  pay  taxes  in  a  free  country.  They  held  that 
a  tributum  was  only  for  slaves  to  pay.  Moreover  it  was  one 
of  the  limitations  of  the  power  of  Augustus  that  he  had  no 
constitutional  right  to  impose  taxation  on  Italy.  Twice  indeed 
he  proposed  to  inflict  a  property-tax  on  Roman  citizens.  In 
A.D.  4  and  13  he  took  a  census  of  all  properties  above  ^"2000 
as  a  preliminary  measure,  but  on  the  second  occasion  at  least 
it  is  explained  by  the  historian  as  a  shrewd  stroke  of  diplomacy 
to  make  people  acquiesce  in  the  existing  death-duties.  The 
serious  financial  embarrassment  of  these  years  was  caused  by 
the  expense  of  the  gratuities  paid  to  time-expired  soldiers.  The 
soldier's  daily  pay  of  about  sixpence  was  only  pocket-money, 
he  had  always  expected  a  farm  on  his  discharge.  Under 
Augustus  this  allowance  of  land  was  commuted  for  a  bounty 
of  about  ^125  for  the  legionary,  or  ^185  for  the  praetorian 
guard.  Of  course,  with  a  service  of  over  twenty  years  and 
constant  fighting,  the  number  of  veterans  discharged  each  year 
must  have  fallen  considerably  below  the  20,000  recruits  en- 
rolled, but  still  it  was  a  heavy  expense.  In  some  cases  the 
veterans  were  retained  under  the  colours  and  in  some  cases 
land  in  new  countries  was  still  given.  But  this  burden  led  to 
the  establishment  of  a  new  military  chest  in  A.D.  6.  This  was 
filled  in  the  first  instance  by  a  donation  of  nearly  two 
millions  from  Augustus  and  Tiberius,  but  it  was  maintained  by 
two  indirect  taxes  which  fell  upon  the  Roman  citizens — very 
much  to  their  annoyance.  One  was  a  tax  of  one  per  cent,  on 
all  objects  bought  and  sold,  the  other  a  five  per  cent,  tax  on 
legacies.  The  latter  was  not  imposed  purely  for  revenue.  It 



was  intended,  along  with  other  laws,  to  discourage  celibacy, 
since  it  only  fell  upon  those  who  died  without  heirs  of  kin. 
What  appears  to  be  a  distinct  tax  is  another  upon  the  sale  of 

The  other  large  head  of  expenditure  was  that  of  the  Roman 
corn-supply.  Two  hundred  thousand  people  received  free  corn 
and  the  rest  of  the  citizens  always  expected  to  buy  it  very  cheaply. 
Most  of  this  corn  came  from  Egypt  and  Sicily  as  taxation  paid 
in  kind.  The  control  of  the  supply  was  in  the  hands  of  a  new 
department,  'euro,  annonce,  but  owing  to  its  mismanagement 
there  were  several  periods  of  famine,  on  which  occasions  either 
Augustus  himself  or  some  member  of  his  family  had  to  step  in 
and  put  things  straight. 

The  general  expenses  of  administering  the  Empire  were 
not  as  great  as  modern  analogies  would  lead  us  to  suppose. 
No  doubt  the  imperial  legates  and  procurators  received  wages 
out  of  the  imperial  fiscus.  It  is  commonly  stated  that  all 
provincial  magistrates  now  received  a  fixed  salary  instead  of 
being  left  to  plunder  the  provincials.  The  truth  is  that  the 
higher  magistrates  of  Rome  never  had  received  and  did  not 
for  a  long  time  yet  receive  a  salary.  But  they  had  always 
claimed  an  allowance  for  their  travelling  expenses  technically 
called  "  mule  and  tent  money,"  and  this  had  been  fixed  on  a 
generous  scale  which  really  amounted  in  practice  to  a  salary. 
The  only  change  was  that  instead  of  allowing  these  fees  to 
be  subject  to  contract  on  the  regular  contract  system  of  the 
republican  treasury,  the  governors  now  received  a  fixed  grant 
calculated  according  to  the  necessary  scale  of  expenses  in  the 
various  provinces.  For  the  provinces  an  immense  saving  was 
effected  in  this  manner  but  it  must  have  been  more  expensive 
to  the  central  treasury. 

The  finances  of  the  provinces  were  gradually  brought  into 
order  and  arranged  with  consummate  skill.  The  little  informa- 
tion that  we  possess  tends  to  show  that  nowhere  was  the 
Augustan  reformation  more  beneficent  or  more  brilliantly 
successful.  In  Gaul  the  land-tax  and  property-tax  were  fixed 



in  26  on  a  fairly  high  scale,  it  is  true,  but  the  development  of 
commerce  and  agriculture  fostered  by  the  Romans  made  their 
incidence  a  light  burden  in  comparison  with  the  rapidly  in- 
creasing wealth  of  the  province.  By  this  time  the  state  had 
accepted  the  theory  of  tribute  which  the  Roman  lawyers  had 
developed  upon  false  principles.  Tribute  was  now  regarded, 
not  as  a  commutation  of  the  liability  to  military  service,  which 
was  its  real  origin,  but  as  a  rent  paid  to  Rome  for  the  continued 
enjoyment  of  lands  which  had  passed  to  her  by  right  of  con- 
quest. The  tribute  was  everywhere  reassessed  upon  a  new 
valuation  systematically  conducted.  Generally  it  represented 
a  tithe  of  the  corn  harvest  and  20  per  cent.'of  liquid  products, 
such  as  oil  and  wine.  In  the  senatorial  provinces  the  old 
system  of  tax-farming  by  contractors  survived  for  a  time,  but 
in  his  own  provinces  Augustus  instituted  an  imperial  board  of 
revenue  administered  by  Roman  knights  or  Greek  slaves  and 
freedmen  as  his  fiscal  procurators.  We  have,  indeed,  three 
known  cases  of  embezzlement  by  native  agents.  One,  Eros, 
had  advertised  his  insolent  rapacity  in  Egypt  by  purchasing  a 
celebrated  fighting  quail  for  an  immense  sum  of  money,  and 
then  cooking  it  for  his  dinner.  Another,  Licinius,  a  native 
Gaul  set  to  collect  taxes  in  his  own  country,  disarmed  Caesar's 
wrath  like  the  servant  in  the  parable  by  showing  rooms  full  of 
silver  and  gold,  which  he  professed  to  have  stored  up  in  his 
master's  interest.  In  this  case  it  is  zealous  extortion  which  is 
charged  against  him.  One  of  his  methods  was  to  extort 
fourteen  months'  taxes  in  the  year  by  pointing  out  to  the  inno- 
cent natives  that  since  December  was  by  its  very  name  the 
tenth  month,  they  had  two  more  monthly  contributions  to  pay 
before  the  end  of  the  year.  A  paymaster,  also  a  slave,  who 
died  inTiberius's  reign,  was  notorious  for  the  retinue  of  fourteen 
persons  who  attended  him  on  his  travels.  He  had  his  private 
cooks  and  physicians.  But  these  are  isolated  cases.  On  the 
whole  it  is  clear  that  the  provinces  were  rejoicing  at  their 
deliverance  from  the  oppression  of  the  Republic.  They  were 
always  anxious  to  be  transferred  from  the  senate  to  Csesar.  If 



the  tax-gatherer  was  still  at  their  door,  he  was  now  a  man  under 
independent  authority  with  a  master  who  would  listen  to  petitions 
and  appeals.  Moreover,  they  now  had  a  government  which 
assisted  them  to  pay  by  intelligently  developing  their  resources. 

The  public  treasury  of  the  senate  was  no  longer  entrusted 
to  mere  quaestors.  Augustus  at  first  instituted  prefects  for 
this  also.  But  the  dearth  of  administrative  capacity  at  Rome 
compelled  him  to  transfer  the  charge  to  the  praetors.  How- 
ever, he  kept  an  eye  upon  its  administration  himself,  as  is  shown 
by  the  fact  that  when  he  died  he  left  to  the  state  an  account  of 
the  condition  of  the  treasury. 

It  is  still  too  early  to  speak  of  a  definite  system  of  division 
between  the  public  "aerarium"  and  the  emperor's  private 
"fiscus."  But  the  budget  of  the  senate  would  include: 


5%  legacy  duty. 

2%  or  4%  duty  on  sale  of  slaves. 

i%  on  merchandise. 

Customs  and  harbour  dues. 

Confiscations  from  state  offenders. 

Intestate  estates. 

Public  lands. 

Provincial  tribute. 

State  mines  and  works. 

Mintage  of  copper. 

The  budget  of  the  fiscus  would  include  : 


Army  and  police. 




Fire  brigade. 



Tribute  of  Caesar's  provinces, 
especially  Egypt  and  Gaul. 

Legacies  (,£15,000,000  in  the  last 
twenty  years). 

Private  domains. 

Family  inheritance. 

Aurum  coronarium  (a  complimen- 
tary gift  on  accession). 

Private  mines  and  works. 

Mintage  of  silver  and  gold. 


Provincial  adminis- 
tration and 

Largess  and  bounties. 

Temples  and  public 

Loans  and  gifts. 

The  fleets. 

Games  and  shows. 


RG.    I.      THE  TEMPLE   OF   SATURN,    FORUM,    ROME 

FIG.    2.      THE  TF.Ml'I.K  OK   MATER    MATUTA,    ROME 




Turning  now  to  a  rapid  survey  of  the  Roman  world  from  a 
geographical  point  of  view  we  shall  see  the  work  of  restoration 
and  repair,  proceeding  with  the  same  methodical  thoroughness 
which  makes  this  regime  one  of  the  most  beneficent  in  the 
history  of  civilisation.  We  have  already  seen  something  of 
the  provincial  system  as  it  was  reorganised  in  27  B.C.  The 
provinces  which  fell  to  the  share  of  the  senate  were  these : 



Gallia  Narbonensis  (transferred  to  the  senate  in  22  B.C.) 

Hispania  Bcztica. 

Crete  with  the  Cyrenaica. 

Macedonia  with  Achaia. 

Bithynia  with  Pontus. 

Cyprus  (also  transferred  to  the  senate  in  22  B.C.). 

Dalmatia  (until  the  revolt  of  1 1  B.C.). 

Sardinia  with  Corsica. 


These  were  governed  by  annual  magistrates,  chosen  by  lot 
from  a  list  selected  by  the  senate — the  first  two  by  proconsuls 
of  consular  rank,  the  others  also  by  governors  termed  pro- 
consuls but  actually  only  of  praetorian  rank,  that  is,  ex-praetors. 
Africa  was  the  only  one  of  these  provinces  which  contained 
troops  and  the  senatorial  governors  went  out  in  civilian  dress 
as  administrators  only.  Caesar's  provinces  were : 



Syria  with  Cilicia  and,  until  22  B.C.,  Cyprus. 

To  these  were  gradually  added : 


Illyricum,  including  Dalmatia  and  Pannonia. 
Galatia,  including  Lycaonia,  Pamphylia,  Pisidia,  and  part 
of  Cilicia,  with  Paphlagonia  added  in  5  B.C. 

These  were  all  governed  by  le-jates  of  Caesar,  commonly 

N  193 


chosen  from  the  ranks  of  the  senate,  with  the  title  of  pro- 
praetor. They  held  office  for  as  long  as  Caesar  desired,  and 
were  provided  with  a  staff,  chosen  by  him,  of  trained  financiers. 
In  addition  to  these,  other  districts  under  prefects  were  gradually 

accumulated : 


Mcesia  and  Triballia. 
Alpes  Cottice. 
Alpes  Maritimce. 

And  others  again  under  procurators : 

Judtea  (after  A.D.  6). 



Further,  there  were  a  large  number  of  "allied"  or  "client" 
kingdoms  and  republics : 

Thrace.  Abitene. 

Pontus  with  Bosphorus.  Emesa. 

Judaea  (till  A.D.  6).  Galilaea  and  Peraea. 

Commagene.  Nabataea. 

Cappadocia.  Batanaea. 

Armenia.  Mauretania. 


And  the  allied  states : 


Athens,  Sparta,  Rhodes,  and  other 
Greek  cities. 

In  his  own  provinces  Caesar  was  supreme  in  all  things ;  he  had 
the  right  of  making  peace,  war,  and  alliance,  without  consult- 
ing the  senate.  Though  he  governed  through  legates  or  pro- 
curators, the  Roman  law  had  always  granted  a  right  of  appeal 
from  a  lower  magistrate  to  his  superior.  This  was  the  source 
of  Paul's  "appeal  unto  Caesar"  from  the  procurator  of  Judaea. 
In  the  senatorial  provinces  his  imperium,  which  had  been 
specially  defined  as  "superior"  (mams),  gave  him  precedence 
when  he  was  actually  present.  And  we  have  many  cases  of  his 


interference  in  senatorial  provinces.  Caesar's  legates,  such  as 
Agrippa,  Tiberius,  and  Gaius,  constantly  act  as  overlords  in 
Asia,  though  a  decree  of  the  senate  is  required  for  this.  We 
hear  of  Augustus  founding  colonies  in  Sicily.  Moreover,  the 
princeps  had  sole  authority  over  the  army,  and  for  any  military 
operations  it  would  be  necessary  to  borrow  troops  of  him. 

The  foundations  of  this  great  empire  were  not  hastily  or 
carelessly  laid.  Although  of  feeble  constitution  and  by  nature 
a  man  of  peace,  Augustus  spent  the  first  half  of  his  long  reign 
more  abroad  than  at  home,  in  fighting  rebels  and  organising 
or  reforming  with  unwearied  energy.  To  this  part  of  his 
work  we  are  unable  to  devote  sufficient  attention  through  lack 
of  material.  The  ancient  historians  prefer  to  record  small 
victories  over  barbarian  tribes,  or  the  petty  gossip  of  the 
Roman  streets,  while  they  have  little  to  say  about  the  tireless 
administration  which  in  one  generation  transformed  the  Roman 
world  from  a  horrible  chaos  into  that  scene  of  peace  and 
prosperity  shown  to  us  in  the  pages  of  Strabo  and  Pliny.  So 
while  our  eyes  are  fixed  upon  the  sins  and  follies  of  Roman 
emperors  and  courtiers,  until  we  get  an  impression  of  rotten 
tyranny  conducted  according  to  the  caprice  of  monsters  and 
fools,  all  the  time  the  greater  part  of  Europe  was  advancing  in 
peace  to  a  state  of  general  culture  and  civilisation  such  as  it 
had  never  known  before,  and  such  as  it  never  knew  again  until 
the  nineteenth  century.  A  casual  glance  over  the  inscriptions 
of  a  provincial  town  probably  gives  us  a  truer  impression  than 
all  the  rhetoric  of  the  historians.  In  Pompeii,  for  example,  a 
small  and  unimportant  suburb  of  Naples  which  scarcely  comes 
into  the  view  of  history,  we  see  a  busy  and  useful  municipal 
life  carried  on  in  absolute  security.  There  were  the  ten 
councillors  (decuriones),  who  corresponded  to  the  Roman 
senate,  and  there  were  two  local  consuls  bearing  the  title 
of  "duumviri."  In  most  cases  a  small  municipality  would 
have  its  "patronus"  also,  a  local  squire,  perhaps,  who  in 
some  measure  corresponded  to  the  princeps,  and  who  would 
represent  the  interests  of  the  town  at  Rome,  or  with  the  Roman 



praetor.  His  main  business,  however,  was  to  equip  his  town 
with  baths,  temples,  and  colonnades,  or  to  provide  it  with 
public  banquets.  For  the  rich  freedmen,  in  whose  hands  was 
much  of  the  trade  of  the  place,  Augustus  had  provided  the  new 
office  of  Seviri  Aiigustales,  which  we  have  already  described. 
There  were  no  rates,  for  private  munificence  took  their  place. 
There  was  no  direct  taxation  in  Italy,  and  the  indirect  taxes 
were  inconsiderable.  Internal  trade  was  free.  The  obligation 
to  military  service  was  so  widely  distributed  that  it  fell  very 
lightly  on  Italy,  and  the  natives  accordingly  became  less  and 
less  warlike.  All  the  Italian  peoples  were  now  Roman  citizens. 
Trade  was  greatly  assisted  by  the  improvement  of  communica- 
tions which  took  place  during  this  period.  The  care  of  roads 
properly  devolved  upon  the  senate,  but  as  they  showed  their 
usual  incompetence  in  this  department  the  princeps  had  to  step 
in  and  organise  a  special  Board  of  Roads  with  a  curator  for 
each  of  the  trunk  lines  of  communication.  Augustus  also 
established  an  imperial  post  with  a  system  of  stages  and  relays, 
which  lasted  on  until  the  coming  of  railways.  The  vehicles 
and  horses  were  maintained  by  the  roadside  communities,  and 
imperial  messengers  who  carried  a  diploma  or  passport  were 
allowed  to  travel  express  by  this  means.  The  great  road  to 
Rimini,  the  Flaminian  Way,  was  the  first  to  be  repaired,  and 
Augustus  adorned  its  terminal  city  with  a  handsome  marble 
bridge*  and  triumphal  arch,  possibly  as  a  compensation  for  the 
trouble  which  he  himself  had  inflicted  upon  the  town  during 
the  civil  wars.  Flourishing  historic  cities  like  Turin  and 
Brescia  owe  their  origin  to  colonies  founded  by  Augustus. 
Towns  like  Perugia  which  had  been  almost  destroyed  in  the 
civil  wars  now  grew  up  again  and  flourished.  In  all,  Augustus 
founded  twenty-eight  colonies  in  Italy,  and  supplied  90,000 
veterans  of  the  civil  wars  with  land  which  he  had  bought  and 
paid  for.  That  the  sea  was  now  safe  for  trade  and  fishery 
must  have  meant  a  great  deal  to  the  coast  towns.  Augustus 
himself  wrote  an  account  of  the  condition  of  Italy,  arid  Pliny 

*  Plate  28,  Fig.  i. 




confesses  to  using  it  as  his  authority.  In  all  the  long  and 
important  history  of  Italy  it  is  doubtful  whether  she  has  ever 
enjoyed  such  peace  and  prosperity  as  began  for  her  in  the 
reign  of  Augustus. 

A  broad  view  of  foreign  politics  showed  Augustus  two 
vital  points  of  danger — the  North  and  East.  To  the 
north  the  fierce  and  warlike  barbarians  of  Germany  had  been 
checked  indeed  by  Julius,  but  also  exasperated.  Tribes 
more  or  less  akin  to  them  extended  southwards  across  the 
Danube  and  even  to  the  Austrian  Tyrol,  where  they  were  little 
more  than  a  week's  march  from  the  gates  of  Rome.  A  strong 
frontier  policy  was  needed  here.  In  the  East  there  were  the 
Parthians,  the  only  possible  rival  power  to  Rome.  The  Romans 
at  Carrhae  noticed  that  while  the  chiefs  wore  their  hair  parted 
and  curled  and  their  faces  painted  in  the  Persian  fashion,  the 
warriors  had  the  unkempt  locks  of  barbarian  Thrace.  It  is 
likely  enough  that  these  Parthian  bowmen  had  come  in  round 
the  shores  of  the  Black  Sea  from  Thrace  or  South  Russia. 
They  had  all  the  characteristics  of  northern  nomads,  but  their 
kings  had  a  good  deal  of  Hellenic  culture.  They  could  boast 
of  a  choice  collection  of  Roman  eagles  captured  not  only  from 
Crassus  at  Carrhae,  but  from  two  armies  sent  against  them  by 
Antony.  Thousands  of  Roman  prisoners  were  still  working 
as  slaves  on  the  banks  of  the  Euphrates.  The  task  of  punish- 
ing them  had  been  definitely  laid  upon  Augustus  as  a  legacy 
from  Julius,  who  had  been  slain  at  the  moment  when  he  was 
about  to  undertake  it  himself.  Moreover,  the  Romans  felt  the 
loss  of  those  standards  very  acutely,  and  not  the  least  motive 
for  their  acquiescence  in  monarchy  had  been  the  hope  that  a 
monarch  would  retrieve  their  honour  in  this  quarter.  The 
earlier  poems  of  Horace  constantly  express  hopes  of  vengeance. 

The  manner  in  which  Augustus  satisfied  these  ardent 
aspirations  of  national  pride  is  characteristic  of  him.  Instead 
of  the  armies  and  bloody  battles  which  historians  demand  of 
their  favourites,  Augustus  achieved  his  object  by  luck  and 
strategy.  When  he  was  organising  the  affairs  of  the  East  in 



29  B.C.,  after  the  conquest  of  Egypt,  he  had  left  the  Parthian 
question  unsolved.  For  this,  Mommsen  takes  him  to  task,  but 
there  is  little  doubt  that  it  would  have  been  folly  to  undertake 
a  great  and  perilous  war  at  that  moment  while  the  affairs  of 
Rome  were  still  in  disorder.  Moreover  the  attitude  of  the 
army  compelled  him  to  return  home.  Instead  of  fighting,  he 
was  content  to  set  up  rival  powers  on  the  Parthian  frontier. 
The  Parthians  hated  their  king  Phraates  and  there  was  a  de- 
posed rival  in  the  field,  Tiridates,  to  whom  Augustus  now  gave 
shelter  in  the  province  of  Syria,  hoping,  as  indeed  happened, 
that  his  presence  in  the  neighbourhood  would  keep  Phraates 
civil.  At  the  same  time  Augustus  set  up  a  buffer  kingdom  of 
Lesser  Armenia  on  the  Parthian  border  and  in  the  south 
strengthened  and  reinstated  Herod  the  Great.  Four  or  five 
legions  were  left  to  guard  Syria. 

In  23  B.C.  it  chanced  that  Tiridates  had  managed  to  kidnap 
the  child  of  Phraates  and  was  keeping  him  in  custody  in  the 
Roman  province.  It  is  significant  of  the  changed  relations 
between  Parthia  and  Rome  that,  instead  of  marching  into  Syria 
to  recover  the  child,  Phraates  sent  an  embassy  to  Rome,  whither 
also  Tiridates  came  in  person.  Of  course  the  senate  made  the 
restoration  of  the  child  conditional  upon  the  return  of  the 
standards  and  prisoners.  Phraates  consented,  but  there  was 
some  delay  in  carrying  out  the  contract  and  this  may  have 
been  secretly  arranged  to  enable  Augustus  to  conduct  the  affair 
in  a  more  striking  fashion.  Augustus  marched  out  with  an 
army  and  at  his  mere  approach  the  standards  and  captives  were 
given  up  with  due  formalities.  It  was  really  a  Roman  triumph, 
almost  as  great  as  if  it  had  been  attained  by  bloodshed,  for  all 
the  world  could  see  the  humiliation  of  Parthia.  Augustus,  that 
astute  tactician,  took  care  that  the  event  should  not  be  allowed 
to  lose  its  impressiveness  for  the  mere  lack  of  bloodshed.  The 
return  of  the  standards  was  treated  as  a  Roman  triumph.  They 
were  placed  with  every  solemnity  in  the  temple  of  Mars  the 
Avenger.  Coins  were  struck  representing  the  suppliant 
Parthian  on  his  knees  and  the  same  scene  is  depicted  in  relief 







on  the  centre  of  Caesar's  breastplate  on  the  famous  statue.     The 
poets  broke  out  into  dutiful  paeans. 

unc  petit  Armenius  pacem,  nunc  porrigit 
Parthus  eques  timida  captaque  signa  mi 

cries  Ovid.  Vergil,  after  his  manner,  speaks  of  the  Euphrates 
flowing  more  quietly  in  future.  The  odes  of  Horace  and  the 
elegies  of  Propertius  contain  similar  loyal  allu- 
sions. Ferrero,  who  regards  Augustus  as  a 
feeble  trickster  just  as  he  regards  Julius  as  a 
shabby  adventurer,  has  nothing  but  contempt 
for  this  episode.  But  seeing  that  the  Parthians 
were  now  utterly  weakened  by  their  internal  feuds 
and  quite  submissive  to  Rome  it  would  have  theltandards 
been  folly  to  embark  upon  their  conquest.  That 
they  gave  much  trouble  in  the  future  is  true  enough,  but  that 
might  fairly  be  left  for  the  future  to  deal  with.  Extermination 
might  have  quieted  them  for  ever,  but  Augustus  had  really  no 
excuse  for  making  war  upon  them. 

On  the  same  visit  to  the  East  a  still  more  elaborate  system 
of  buffer  states  forming  a  double  semicircle  round  Parthia  was 
organised.  Armenia  yielded  to  Rome  and  received  at  the  hands 
of  Tiberius  a  new  king  who  had  been  educated  at  Rome. 
Augustus  himself  explains  that  although  he  might  have  made 
Armenia  into  a  Roman  province  he  preferred  to  follow  the 
example  of  "our  ancestors"  and  give  the  crown  to  a  native 
king.  Augustus  never  pretended  to  be  a  world-conqueror. 
Similarly  Media  Atropatene  received  a  new  king  of  Roman 
education,  so  did  Commagene  and  Emesa.  These  formed  the 
outer  ring  of  buffer  states. 

The  central  state  behind  them  was  Galatia,  an  arid  highland 
district  inhabited  by  the  descendants  of  those  Gauls  who  had 
burst  into  the  Greek  world  under  Brennus.  Though  they 
had  acquired  some  tincture  of  Greek  civilisation  and  had  a 
capital  of  some  importance  at  Ancyra,  they  still  spoke  the 



Gaulish  language  and  were  still  a  warlike  race.  For  these 
reasons,  on  the  death  of  their  king,  Augustus  preferred  to 
turn  their  country  into  a  province.  To  the  north  was  the  very 
friendly  kingdom  of  Polemo  in  Pontus,  and  to  the  south  other 
friendly  princedoms  as  well  as  the  Roman  provinces  of  Cilicia, 
Syria,  and  Cyprus. 

For  all  this  elaborate  bulwark,  the  Parthian  question  was 
not  really  settled.  They  continued  to  exercise  an  undue 
influence  in  Armenia,  and  in  A.D.  i  there  was  another  solemn 
mission  to  the  East  and  a  conference  between  Phraates  the 
Parthian  king  and  Gaius  the  grandson  of  Augustus.  Once 
more  the  Parthian  professed  submission,  and  once  more  the 
court  poets  struck  their  obsequious  lyres.  When  Phraates 
died,  his  uncle  Orodes  who  succeeded  ruled  with  such  cruelty 
that  he  was  assassinated.  Thereupon  the  Parthians  sent  to 
Rome  for  a  king  and  Augustus  gave  them  a  nephew  of  the 
murdered  tyrant,  a  youth  also  of  Roman  education.  We  note 
this  proceeding  as  common  in  the  foreign  policy  of  Augustus. 
He  must  have  had  something  like  a  school  for  young  barbarian 
princes  at  Rome,  but  whether  the  lessons  that  they  learnt  in 
Roman  society  were  altogether  salutary  is  doubtful. 

Behind  this  wall  the  great  provinces  of  Asia,  Syria,  and 
Bithynia  were  wrapped  in  profound  security.  Here  Greek 
culture  continued  to  flourish  with  periodical  incursions  of 
oriental  religion  and  philosophy.  In  every  considerable  town 
the  Jews  formed  a  great  and  growing  section  of  the  population 
but  even  they  were  half  Greek  in  their  ways  of  life.  The 
country  was  rich  and  lazy  and  utterly  unwarlike.  Civilisation 
had  risen  to  a  high  pitch  and  it  was  probably  this  part  of  the 
world  which  sent  to  Rome  those  artists  who  contributed  to  the 
revival  of  sculpture.  Pretty  little  epigrams  in  Greek  elegiacs 
seem  to  have  been  their  principal  literary  accomplishment. 
These  provinces  have  very  little  history — happily  for  them — 
at  this  period.  We  know  them  best  from  the  Acts  of  the 
Apostles,  where  we  get  a  glimpse  of  their  superstitions,  their 
eagerness  to  embrace  new  religions.  We  see  the  fanaticism  of 



Ephesus  with  its  magnificent  temple  of  Diana  and  stately 
worship,  a  religion  of  oriental  character  overlaid  with  Greek 
culture,  and  only  rivalled  in  its  attractions  by  the  Roman 
amphitheatre.  For  these  people  as  for  the  rest  of  the  world 
Augustus  had  his  policy.  Since  worship  was  their  instructive 
need  and  Euhemerism  had  accustomed  them  to  worship  men, 
he  set  up  an  elaborate  cult  of  himself,  or  rather,  by  a  subtle 
distinction  without  a  difference,  a  cult  of  "the  genius  of 
Augustus."  Temples  were  built  to  "Rome  and  Augustus" 
and  an  elaborate  hierarchy  of  "High  Priests,"  "Asiarchs,"  and 
"  Bithyniarchs,"  which  became  the  highest  social  distinctions 
in  the  society  of  the  day.  This  was  his  method  of  securing 
the  allegiance  of  nations  devoted  to  religion  and  flattery. 
Here  in  the  near  future  was  to  be  the  field  of  that  momentous 
conflict  between  this  State  religion  and  Christianity,  with  other 
oriental  faiths,  such  as  Mithraism,  also  claiming  their  proselytes. 
As  for  old  Greece,  the  Romans  never  denied  their  spiritual 
debt  to  her,  and  accordingly  they  regarded  Greece  with  some- 
thing of  the  veneration  which  a  man  feels  for  his  university. 
Augustus  himself  had  been  educated  at  Apollonia,  he  sent  his 
heirs  to  various  Greek  cities  for  their  education.  It  would 
have  seemed  sacrilege  to  educated  Romans  to  put  a  legate  in 
charge  of  Athens.  Hence  we  find  Greece  enjoying  quite  an 
exceptional  position  in  the  empire,  indeed  without  exception 
the  freest  and  most  favoured  part  of  it.  Towns  such  as  Athens, 
Lacedsemon,  Thespiae,  Tanagra,  Platsea,  Delphi,  and  Olympia 
were  free  and  almost  sovereign.  Athens  continued  to  coin  her 
silver  drachms  with  the  old  design  of  Pallas  and  the  owl, 
elected  her  own  archons  and  generals,  held  assemblies  and  even 
had  a  sort  of  empire  extending  over  all  Attica,  part  of  Boeotia 
and  five  islands  of  the  Cyclades.  One  Julius  Nicanor,  her 
"new  Themistocles,"  purchased  the  island  of  Salamis  and 
presented  it  to  his  city  in  the  civilised  manner  of  empire-build- 
ing. Sparta,  too,  though  now  shrunken  to  the  size  of  a  village, 
bore  rule  over  Northern  Laconia,  while  in  the  south  there  was  a 
free  confederacy  to  keep  her  in  order.  Beside  these  cities  of 



ancient  renown  stood  the  new  and  splendid  creation  of  Augustus 
— Nicopolis,  the  city  of  victory,  founded  on  the  promontory  of 
Actium  in  commemoration  of  the  great  victory  of  3 1 .  Nicopolis 
had  its  great  athletic  festival  like  Olympia  and  ruled  over  a 
considerable  territory.  In  addition  to  these  free  cities  there 
were  some  Roman  colonies.  Corinth  rose  again  from  her  ashes 
as  an  important  commercial  city  founded  by  Julius  Caesar. 
Patras,  on  the  Corinthian  Gulf,  a  new  foundation  of  Augustus, 
became  one  of  the  most  important  cities  of  Greece,  as  it  is  to- 
day. The  rest  of  Southern  Greece,  consisting  mainly  of  obscure 
villages,  formed  the  new  senatorial  province  of  Achaia  and  was 
governed  by  a  proconsul  at  Corinth.  It  was  a  poor  unmilitary 
province.  The  northern  part  formed  the  senatorial  province  of 
Macedonia.  Thessalonica  and  Apollonia  were  the  principal 
centres  of  government  and  civilisation  in  this  region.  In 
Greece,  as  elsewhere,  Augustus  made  it  his  aim  to  focus  a 
national  unity  upon  religion.  The  old  Achaean  league  was 
revived  as  a  religious  gathering  with  Argos  for  its  centre,  and 
the  Delphic  Amphictyony,  the  oldest  surviving  institution  in 
Europe,  became  the  basis  of  a  Panhellenic  confederacy  which 
met  annually  for  religious  purposes  under  Roman  patronage,  a 
sort  of  Eisteddfod  combining  religion  with  culture.  It  sacri- 
ficed to  Caesar,  and  here,  too,  we  find  a  president  called 
"  Helladarch."  But  although  Greece  had  liberty  and  peace, 
something  was  amiss  with  her.  Her  shrunken  population  con- 
tinued to  decline.  In  Strabo's  Geography,  Thebes  is  a  mere 

Crossing  the  water  we  find  that  the  newly  conquered  king- 
dom of  Egypt  was  the  key  to  the  whole  position  of  Augustus. 
It  was  the  wealth  of  Egypt  which  had  reconciled  Rome  to 
monarchy  and  it  was  by  means  of  that  wealth  that  he  continued 
to  hold  the  allegiance  of  his  subjects.  Like  Greece  it  had  an 
ancient  civilisation  which  impressed  the  Romans  as  something 
beyond  their  comprehension.  Alexandria,  in  particular,  as  the 
gateway  to  the  wealth  of  Egypt,  and  as  the  greatest  existing 
centre  of  Greek  culture,  not  to  mention  its  huge  population 


and  commercial  advantages,  seemed  to  the  Romans  a  really 
dangerous  rival.  The  fear  of  that  rivalry  had  been  felt  very 
acutely  at  Rome  when  news  came  of  the  ambitious  schemes  of 
Cleopatra  and  the  subservience  of  Antony.  Augustus  was 
really  heading  something  like  a  national  crusade  when  he 
declared  war  upon  them.  The  same  fears  now  actuated  him 
in  settling  the  treatment  of  Egypt  as  a  province.  Though  he 
writes  "  I  added  Egypt  to  the  Roman  empire,"  he  treated  it 
rather  as  an  imperial  domain  under  a  prefect  or  viceroy  closely 
attached  to  his  interests.  Its  first  prefect  was  Cornelius 
Gallus,  a  knight  from  the  Gallic  colony  of  Frejus,  a  poet  him- 
self and  a  friend  of  Vergil.  Cornelius  Gallus  was  in  fact  the 
hero  of  the  famous  eclogue :  neget  quis  carmina  Gallo  ?  It  was 
specially  ordained  that  no  senator  might  visit  Egypt  without 
the  express  permission  of  Caesar.  The  native  Egyptians  were 
already  overridden  by  a  Greek  aristocracy  dating  from 
Alexander's  conquest.  They  had  no  rights,  and  no  nationality 
was  designed  for  them  as  it  had  been  elsewhere.  Augustus 
accepted  the  elaborate  bureaucratic  system  which  he  had  found 
in  existence  when  he  came.  The  Greek  aristocracy  lived 
almost  exclusively  in  Alexandria,  possessing  a  municipal  con- 
stitution, magistracy,  and  priesthood  ofltheir  own.  The  ecclesia 
was  stopped  but  otherwise  there  was  no  attempt  to  Romanise 
Egypt.  The  old  Egyptian  worship  of  Isis  and  Osiris  had 
conquered  all  its  conquerors  and  continued  to  make  inroads 
even  into  Rome  itself  where  Augustus  was  forced  to  accept  it 
as  irresistible.  All  that  had  happened  in  Egypt  was  that 
Augustus  had  taken  the  place  of  the  Ptolemies  in  the  official 
religion.  It  was  the  motive  of  fear  which  led  to  the  appoint- 
ment of  a  mere  knight  as  viceroy,  though  he  had  three  legions 
under  his  command.  The  officials  under  him  were  knights  or 
freedmen.  The  taxes  remained  very  heavy,  as  was  necessary, 
but  now  the  Egyptians  were  placed  in  a  better  position  to  pay 
them.  Even  before  the  civil  war  was  quite  ended  in  29  B.C. 
Augustus  had  employed  his  soldiers  to  clear  the  canals  and 
raise  the  level  of  the  dams  which  ensure  the  Egyptian  harvests. 



This  process  continued,  and  Egypt  never  had  such  prosperity 
again  until  Lord  Cromer  came  to  resume  the  work  of  Augustus. 
The  harvest  depended  simply  on  the  height  to  which  the  Nile 
rose.  The  ancient  Nilometer  at  Elephantine  records  that  the 
Nile  rose  to  an  unprecedented  height  in  the  latter  days  of 
Augustus.  Formerly  a  level  of  eight  ells  had  meant  famine, 
now  it  ensured  a  tolerable  harvest.  Another  inscription  found 
at  Coptos  gives  us  the  names  of  the  Roman  soldiers  who  built 
reservoirs  of  water  along  the  great  roads.  Then  the  trade 
with  India  along  the  Red  Sea  first  began  to  grow  great. 
Whereas  in  the  time  of  Cleopatra  hardly  twenty  ships  sailed 
to  India  in  a  year,  there  was  already  in  Strabo's  day  (about 
A.D.  1 8)  a  great  fleet  of  Indiamen.  Taxes  on  exports  and 
imports  returned  a  huge  revenue  to  the  imperial  purse. 

The  prefect  who  represented  his  master  on  the  throne  of 
the  Ptolemies  was  in  a  difficult  position.  To  Rome  he  was  a 
mere  servant,  to  the  Egyptians  something  like  a  god.  Against 
these  flattering  influences  Gallus  the  poet  had  not  strength  to 
resist.  He  allowed  statues  to  be  erected  to  him  and  even  had 
his  own  achievements  engraved  upon  the  pyramids.  A 
traitorous  friend  reported  these  indiscretions  at  Rome. 
Augustus  was  content  to  recall  him  and  forbid  him  to  live  in 
the  provinces  or  to  enter  his  presence.  But  the  officious  senate 
voted  his  condemnation  to  banishment,  and  confiscated  all  his 
property  to  Augustus,  whereby  Gallus  was  driven  to  suicide. 
Then  Augustus  was  sorry  and  complained  that  it  was  hard  not 
to  be  able  to  scold  one's  friends  like  a  private  man.  This  was 
the  first  case  of  that  disease  known  as  delatio  (informing)  which 
was  afterwards  to  become  such  a  pest  under  the  Empire.  It  is 
satisfactory  to  learn  that  the  informer  was  very  rudely  treated 
in  Roman  society.  From  Egypt,  as  a  base,  expeditions  were 
made  in  the  time  of  Augustus  to  Arabia  and  the  Soudan. 
Arabia  Felix  was  to  the  Romans  a  kind  of  Eldorado  of  bound- 
less wealth,  as  Horace  writes  to  a  friend  who  was  joining  the 
campaign.  The  Arabs  brought  their  incense  into  the  Syrian 
markets  and  already  traded  with  India  from  Aden,  but  the 


FIG.  2.      ROMAN    BAS-RELIEF 



national  wealth  of  the  country  was  exaggerated  and  its  diffi- 
culties unknown.  This  expedition  of  25  B.C.,  which  was  on  a 
very  large  scale  and  included  contingents  from  Judaea,  was  one 
of  the  few  deliberate  wars  of  conquest  ever  planned  by  Augustus. 
He  learnt  a  lesson  by  its  failure  in  the  burning  and  trackless 
deserts.  The  other  campaign  against  the  black  ^Ethiopians 
of  the  Soudan  under  their  warlike  but  one-eyed  queen  Candace 
was  more  successful.  Petronius  the  legate  penetrated  as  far  as 
the  Second  Cataract  and  sent  a  thousand  prisoners  to  Rome, 
but  Augustus  seems  to  have  been  content  to  make  the  First 
Cataract  his  southern  frontier. 

The  neighbouring  client  kingdom  of  Judaea  is  of  importance 
not  only  because  the  days  of  Augustus  saw  the  birth  of  that 
Child  in  Bethlehem  who  was  destined  to  conquer  Rome  and 
through  Rome  the  world,  but  because  its  throne  was  occupied 
by  the  ablest  and  most  remarkable  man,  next  to  Augustus,  in 
the  whole  Empire.  Herod  the  Great,  an  Edomite  Arab  by  birth, 
had  succeeded  to  the  throne  of  the  Maccabees  in  37  B.C.  He 
was  not  only  a  daring  warrior  but  a  singularly  skilful  diplomat 
who  was  always  able  to  cover  up  his  crimes  by  adroit  flattery 
and  a  fascinating  manner.  He  was  very  successful  in  trimming 
between  the  rivals  throughout  the  civil  wars  and  even  shared 
the  favours  of  Cleopatra  with  his  Roman  masters.  In  these 
ways  he  increased  his  domains  by  the  addition  of  Gadara, 
Samaria,  and  the  Philistine  coast  towns.  In  compliment  to 
Augustus  he  refounded  Samaria  with  great  splendour  as  the 
Greek  city  of  Sebaste  and  built  Greek  theatres,  Roman  amphi- 
theatres, and  baths  in  Jerusalem  itself.  He  even  instituted 
quinquennial  games  there,  wherein  naked  athletes  performed 
to  the  infinite  disgust  of  the  Jews.  He  took  his  sons  to  Rome 
for  their  education  and  there  he  met  and  fascinated  both 
Augustus  and  Agrippa.  He  even  persuaded  Agrippa  to  visit 
Jerusalem  for  the  opening  of  his  magnificent  new  temple  in  1 5 
B.C.  Agrippa  came  and  sacrificed  a  whole  hecatomb  to  Jehovah 
to  the  apparent  delight  of  the  people.  Later  on  Herod  made  a 
grand  tour  of  Asia  Minor,  scattering  lavish  gifts  everywhere 



and  receiving  complimentary  inscriptions  in  return.  He 
succeeded  in  obtaining  valuable  privileges  for  his  fellow- Jews 
scattered  abroad  in  those  regions.  Henceforth  they  were  not 
forced  to  render  military  service  and  had  special  permission  to 
keep  the  Sabbath. 

In  9  and  8  B.C.,  however,  he  got  into  trouble  with  Augustus 
for  conducting  a  military  expedition  against  the  Arabs  without 
permission.  This  was  the  greatest  offence  that  a  client  king 
could  commit,  and  Augustus  declared  that  henceforth  he  would 
treat  Herod  not  as  a  friend,  but  as  a  subject.  But  in  the  next 
year  a  humble  embassy  was  sent  to  Rome  with  the  historian 
Nicolaus  as  its  spokesman.  Herod  received  the  gracious  per- 
mission to  deal  with  his  rebellious  sons  as  he  thought  fit,  and 
accordingly  strangled  two  of  them.  Herod's  family  history  is 
a  deplorable  record  of  crimes  and  intrigues.  He  seems  to  have 
had  ten  wives,  and  on  his  death  in  4  B.C.,  he  left  three  wills 
among  which  Augustus  had  to  decide.  Seeing  that  Judaea  was 
so  rich  and  powerful  as  to  be  a  possible  source  of  danger,  he 
decided  to  split  it  up  into  three.  Then  began  a  whole  series 
of  troubles,  in  the  course  of  which  the  Jews  of  Jerusalem  actually 
attacked  a  Roman  legion.  In  revenge  the  legate  of  Syria, 
Quintilius  Varus,  crucified  2000  of  the  inhabitants.  In  the  final 
award  Judaea  fell  to  Archelaus,  Galilee  to  Herod  Antipas. 
Ten  years  later,  however,  the  infamous  Archelaus  was  deposed 
at  the  petition  of  his  subjects,  and  Judaea  was  made  subject  to 
the  province  of  Syria  with  a  procurator  of  its  own.  Herod 
Antipas  continued  to  rule  his  petty  kingdom  until  about  A.D. 
34,  when  it  also  was  united  to  the  province.  He  is  the  Herod 
whom  Christ  denounced  as  "  that  fox,"  and  he  is  the  Herod  of 
Christ's  Judgment,  when  he  happened  to  be  at  Jerusalem  on  a 
visit  to  Pontius  Pilatus,  the  Roman  procurator.  Pilate  was  a 
Roman  knight,  but  Felix,  one  of  his  successors,  was  only 
a  freedman.  The  seat  of  the  Roman  government  was  not  at 
Jerusalem,  but  at  Caesarea,  so  that  the  prcztorium  in  which  the 
trial  of  Jesus  took  place  must  have  been  the  temporary  head- 
quarters of  Pilate  in  the  palace  built  by  Herod  the  Great. 

6  A 

!M,\TF,  L.     COIN    I'LATK   II 


The  procurator  only  commanded  auxiliary  troops,  and  nearly 
all  the  "  Roman  soldiers  "  mentioned  in  the  Gospels  must  have 
been  of  Jewish  birth.     As  soon  as  it  was  a  province,  but  not 
before,    Judaea   had   to   pay   tribute    to    Caesar.     Hence    the 
existence  of  a  "  chief  of  the  publicans "  like  Zacchseus.     As 
usual,  the  Romans  preserved  what  they  could  of  native  institu- 
tions, and  the  Sanhedrin  continued  to  act  as  a  national  council, 
so  far  as  could  be  permitted.     Thus  it  might  try  Jesus,  but  it 
could  not  pronounce  the  death  sentence.     On  the  other  hand, 
another  procurator,  Festus,  committed  Paul  to  the  Sanhedrin 
for  judgment.     The  fact  is  that  the  Jewish  law  was  so  peculiarly 
national  that  a  bewildered  and  well-intentioned  Roman  knight 
like  Pilate  might  often  say  "  take  ye  Him  and  judge  Him  ac- 
cording to  your  law."     The  Roman  government  was  so  tolerant 
of  the  religion  of  its  subjects  that  even  a  Roman  citizen  who 
ventured  to  enter  the  Holy  of  Holies  was  punished  with  death. 
The  Jewish  religion  was  expressly  under  Roman  protection. 
Agrippa,  as  we  have  seen,  had  sacrificed  to  Jehovah,  but  later 
on  we  find  Augustus  commending  his  grandson  Gaius  for  not 
having  worshipped  Jehovah.     As  a  matter  of  fact,  with  the 
spread  of  the  newer  forms  of  Hellenic  philosophy  the  religious 
feeling  of  the  world,  which  had  long  ago  given  up  its  faith  in 
the  Olympian  mythology,  was  turning  more  and  more  towards 
monotheism    and  a  mystical  system  of   ethics.     The   higher 
Pharisaism,  which  Paul  had  learnt  at  the  feet  of  Gamaliel,  was 
decidedly  influenced  by  Stoicism.     Hence  the  Jewish  religion 
even  before  its  Christian  development  was  extremely  fascinating 
to  the  Roman  mind,  and  it  had  to  be  forbidden  in  the  capital. 
Even  at  Jerusalem  the  Jews  were  expected  to  sacrifice,  not  to 
but  far  "  Caesar  and  the  Roman  People  "  every  day.     Augustus 
paid  for  this  ritual  out  of  his  own  pocket.     In  deference  to 
the  feeling  of  the  Jews,  the  coins  struck  for  Judaea  bore  no 
portrait  of  Caesar,  and  even  the  standards,  because  they  bore 
portraits,    were   ordered    not   to   be    carried    into    the   Holy 
City.     It  is  true  that  the  silver  denarius  of  Syria  circulated 
in  Judaea  to  some  extent,  and  it  is  of  such  a  coin  that  Christ 



was  speaking  when  He  asked  :  "  Whose  image  and  superscrip- 
tion is  this  ?  " 

The  province  of  Africa  with  Numidia  was  handed  over  to 
the  senate  as  peaceful  in  27  B.C.,  and  it  was  one  of  the  only  two 
Roman  provinces  which  Augustus  never  visited.  Nominally 
it  stretched  from  the  boundary  of  the  kingdom  of  Mauretania 
at  the  river  Ampsaga  on  the  west  to  the  borders  of  the 
Cyrenaica  on  the  east.  But  actually  it  consisted  of  the  islands 
of  fertility  on  the  Tunisian  coast.  Carthage  had  been 
colonised  by  Julius  Caesar  and  was  now  refounded  by  Augustus. 
There  was  no  inland  frontier.  In  the  desert  behind  the 
mountains  there  still  flourished  the  wild  Gaetulian  nomads  who 
occasionally  descended  upon  the  peaceful  province  and  provided 
a  Roman  triumph.  This  was  the  reason  why  a  legion  was  still 
kept  in  Africa.  The  neighbouring  kingdom  of  Mauretania 
was  assigned  to  an  interesting  young  royal  couple.  The 
husband  was  Juba,  a  descendant  of  Masinissa,  who  had  been 
educated  as  a  Roman,  had  served  in  the  Roman  army  and 
was  so  complete  a  Greek  scholar  that  he  wrote  among  many 
other  works  a  history  of  the  Drama.  The  wife  was  a  daughter 
of  Cleopatra  by  Antony,  who  had  ridden  in  Caesar's  triumph  at 
Rome.  Both  Mauretania  and  its  eastern  neighbour  Numidia, 
which  had  been  added  to  the  Roman  province,  now  settled 
down  to  wealth  and  happiness  under  the  Roman  rule.  The 
splendid  ruins  which  still  survive  indicate  a  prosperity  which 
has  not  as  yet  been  completely  recovered. 

Cyrene,  where  the  descendants  of  the  Romans  are  now 
carving  out  a  province  for  themselves,  though  geographically 
a  part  of  the  African  continent,  was  historically  regarded  as 
a  Greek  island,  and  united  in  one  province  with  Crete.  It 
consisted  of  a  group  of  five  Greek  cities  with  a  large  inter- 
mixture of  Jews.  Cyrene  has  no  history  in  this  period,  but 
after  the  siege  of  Jerusalem  there  was  a  terrible  outburst  of 
Jewish  fanaticism.  Thousands  of  Roman  citizens  were  tortured 
and  slain. 

Perhaps  no  country  in  the  world  has  had  such  a  chequered 


and  miserable  history  as  the  pleasant  island  of  Sicily  with  its 
rich  volcanic  soil.  For  four  hundred  years  it  had  been  mainly 
Greek.  The  eastern  end,  at  least,  had  been  scattered  with 
important  city-states  which,  under  the  leadership  of  Syracuse, 
had  waged  incessant  conflict  with  the  Carthaginian  invaders  in 
their  western  strongholds.  We  have  seen  how  the  Romans 
finally  drove  out  the  Semitic  element  and  conquered  the 
Greeks.  During  the  latter  part  of  republican  history  the 
island  had  been  of  vital  importance  to  Rome  as  supplying 
through  its  tribute  the  chief  part  of  the  corn-supply.  At  the 
same  time  it  had  been  cruelly  exploited  and  oppressed  by  Roman 
governors  like  Verres.  Then  during  the  civil  wars  Sextus 
Pompeius  had  made  it  his  head-quarters,  and  it  had  been  laid 
under  heavy  contributions  by  both  sides.  Messina,  its  richest 
town,  had  been  the  scene  of  a  sack  and  massacre.  No  country 
had  more  to  hope  from  the  Pax  Augusta,  and  it  now  began  to 
enjoy  one  of  its  brief  periods  of  rest.  Augustus  spent  the 
winter  of  22  in  Sicily  at  the  beginning  of  his  tour  in  Greece. 
He  founded  colonies  at  six  famous  cities  of  old.  While  he 
was  in  the  island  the  Sicilians  offered  him  a  kind  of  round- 
robin  of  complaint  against  the  extortion  of  his  procurator. 
Augustus  instantly  dismissed  the  offender  and  replaced  him  by 
his  own  valued  tutor,  the  philosopher  Areus.  It  was  thoroughly 
in  accordance  with  his  policy  to  put  a  Greek  philosopher  in 
charge  of  a  Greek  island. 

So  far  we  have  been  surveying  the  treatment  of  that  part 
of  the  Roman  world  which  was  already  quite  civilised  and 
mainly  Greek.  We  now  turn  to  the  barbarian  West  and  North, 
mainly  consisting  of  newly  conquered  Caesarian  provinces.  In 
these  quarters,  the  nearer  parts  of  Spain  and  the  Narbonensian 
province  of  Gaul  were  the  only  regions  which  could  be  called 
civilised.  As  soon  as  the  provisional  settlement  of  27  B.C.  was 
effected  Augustus  hurried  away  to  Gaul.  It  was  generally 
thought  that  he  was  on  his  way  to  conquer  Britain,  for  that 
was  the  second  of  the  two  tasks  which  Julius  had  left  to  his 
successor.  Accordingly  the  loyal  Horace  dutifully  prays : 

o  209 


serues  iturum  Csesarem  in  ultimos 
orbis  Britannos.* 

But  this  was  not  the  time,  and  Augustus  was  not  the  man,  for 
dazzling  conquests.     "  Hasten  slowly"  was  his  favourite  motto, 
and  his  empire  policy  was  founded  on  the  same  principle.     For 
the   present  the   Ocean,  then   called   British,  was  boundary 
enough.     Augustus  was  reducing  the  army  and  Britain  would 
have  taken  at  least  a  legion  to  keep  it  quiet.     So  Britain  had 
to  delay  its  prospects  of  civilisation  until  Gaul  and  Spain  were 
organised  and  the  German  frontier  settled.      We  have  the 
record  of  British  chiefs  coming  to  Rome  with  unknown  petitions 
during  the  period,  but  beyond  that  there  is  silence  on  our 
island.     As  for  Gaul,  Julius  had  done  the  work  of  conquest 
thoroughly  enough,  and  the   Gauls  as  an   adaptable   people 
were  taking  to  Roman  civilisation  with  avidity.      There  were 
indeed  corners  of  it  not  yet  enlightened  and  the  whole  govern- 
ment required  organisation.     Augustus  went  straight  to  the 
capital  of  the  old  province,  Narbonne,  and  there;  he  arranged 
a  census  and  a  land  register,  not,  as  Ferrero  observes,  out  of 
mere  statistical  curiosity.     Probably  no  tribute  had  come  in 
from  Gaul  during  the  civil  wars,  and   Augustus   was   much 
concerned  with  finance.     For  the  moment  an  outbreak  in  Spain 
called  the  emperor  away,  but  five  years  later  he  returned  to 
complete  his  work.     The  old  province,  which  has  passed  into 
history  as  Provence,  was  now  handed  back  to  the  senate  as  com- 
pletely pacified,  and  the  rest  of  Gaul  was  eventually  divided 
into  three  parts :  Aquitania,  the  half-Spanish  south-west ;  Lug- 
dunensis  (the  east  and  centre  stretching  right  across  France 
with  its  capital  Lyons  or  Lugdunum  on  its  eastern  border) ;  and 
Belgica  (the  northern  part  with  Trier — Augusta  Treverorum, 
not  yet  founded — and  Rheims  as  its  chief  towns).    This  division 
was  mainly,  though  not  entirely,  based  on  racial  considerations. 
Together   the   three  formed   one    of    Qesar's    provinces    as 
Gallia  Comata. 

*  Mayst  thou  [Fortune]  preserve  Csesar,  who  marches  against  the  Britons 
at  the  ends  of  the  earth.     (Odes,  I.  xxxv.  29-30.) 


The  treatment  of  the  conquered  land  was  wise  and  humane. 
Druidical  religion,  already  a  waning  force,  was  permitted  to 
exist,  though  it  included  human  sacrifice  and  was  hostile  to  the 
Romans.     In  the  reign  of   Claudius   it  was  forbidden.     But 
other  native  deities  were  actually  encouraged  by  the  state,  and 
Augustus  himself  built  an  altar  to  some  strange  Gallic  spirits. 
But  side  by  side  with  the  native  religion  he  fostered  the  new 
cult,  as  in  Asia,  of  "Rome  and  Augustus."     There  had  always 
been   tribal   councils   which   culminated   in   a  great  national 
gathering  at  Lugdunum  once  a  year.     Apparently  the  presiding 
priests  had  been  elected  from  the  well-born  natives  and  were 
in  opposition  to  the  Druids.     Augustus  made  skilful  use  of 
this  organisation  and  fostered  it  in  order  to  make  it  a  centre 
for  Roman  patriotism.     He  set  up  a  great  altar  at  Lugdunum 
inscribed  "to  Rome  and  Augustus."     It  was  constructed  in  a 
sacred  grove,  and  was  surrounded  by  statues  emblematic  of 
the  sixty  Gallic  tribes.     The  elected  priest  had  to  be  a  Roman 
citizen  of  Gallic  birth.     It  soon  became  a  distinction  coveted 
by  the  grandsons  of  those  who  had  fought  against  Julius.     This 
is  very  characteristic  of  the  systematic  empire-building  which 
went  on  in  the  days  of  Augustus.     Lugdunum  rose  to  be  a 
great  imperial  city,  the  only  city  in  Gaul  which  possessed  full 
Roman  citizenship  and  had  a  mint  of  its  own.     From  it  a 
great  and  elaborate  road  system  radiated  to  all  parts  of  France 
very  much  in  the  same  directions  as   the   modern   railways. 
Schools  were  founded   and   the   study  of   Latin  encouraged 
though  not  enforced.     The  Gauls  took  very  ardently  to  their 
new  studies,  displaying  in  particular  a  remarkable  faculty  for 
rhetoric.     The  principle  came  into  force  that  when  a  town  or 
district  could  show  that  it  spoke  Latin  it  received  important 
rights  of  citizenship,  including  that  great  privilege,  the  use  of 
Roman  law.     The  land  system  of  Gaul  differed  essentially  from 
that  of  Italy  in  that  it  was  based  on  tribes  and  cantons  instead 
of  cities.     Already  the  towns  were  growing  as  centres  for  the 
tribes,  but  to  this  day  many  of  the  names  of  French  cities  are 
those  of  tribes  rather  than  towns :  thus  Lutetia  of  the  Parisii 



is  Paris,  Durocortorum  of  the  Remi  is  Rheims,  Divodurum  of 
the  Mediomatrici  is  Metz,  and  Agedincum  of  the  Senones  is 
Sens.  The  tribute  ultimately  fixed  was  a  high  one  but  on  the 
whole  justly  regulated.  It  is  probable  that  the  ugly  story  of 
Licinius  and  his  extortions  is  told  as  an  exceptional  occurrence. 
In  any  case  Gaul  was  taught  how  to  grow  rich  and  prosperous. 
Mines  of  silver  and  gold  were  successfully  exploited,  the 
culture  of  flax  was  encouraged,  and  the  soil  was  found  to  be 
admirably  suited  to  cereal  crops.  Gaul  became  a  hive  of  in- 
dustry and  a  source  of  ever-increasing  wealth.  She  purchased 
oil  and  wine  from  Italy  as  well  as  the  articles  of  Eastern  luxury 
which  passed  through  the  hands  of  Roman  merchants.  A  2^ 
per  cent,  duty  was  charged  at  the  frontier  both  on  imports  and 
exports.  Such  were  some  of  the  methods  by  which  the 
Romanisation  of  Gaul  was  effected,  and  the  foundations  so  well 
and  truly  laid  that  through  all  the  invasions  of  Franks  and 
Burgundians,  Gaul  remained  Roman  in  speech  and  thought, 
and  remains  so  to  this  day.* 

Of  all  the  momentous  problems  which  Augustus  had  to  face, 
the  delimitation  of  the  northern  frontier  was  the  weightiest. 
It  has  always  been  one  of  the  disputed  questions  of  Roman 
history,  why  Augustus,  who  was  generally  so  cautious  and  so 
unwilling  to  embark  upon  adventures,  deliberately  chose  to 
cross  the  Rhine  and  plunge  into  those  impenetrable  forests  of 
whose  dangers  and  difficulties  Julius  Caesar  had  left  so  clear  a 
warning.  Was  it  his  aim  to  forestall  the  danger  of  a  German 
invasion  of  Gaul?  On  the  other  hand,  the  Rhine  might  well 
seem  a  sufficient  frontier,  as  indeed  for  many  centuries  it  was. 
Was  it  his  aim  to  exercise  his  troops  in  difficult  warfare  and 
perhaps  secure  military  renown  for  the  young  men  whom  he  had 
destined  for  the  succession?  These  are  scarcely  adequate 
motives  for  a  man  like  Augustus.  Did  he  hope  to  accquire 
wealth  out  of  Germany  as  he  had  done  out  of  Gaul  ?  He  must 
have  known  that  the  virgin  forests  and  undrained  morasses  of 
Germany  would  scarcely  balance  the  difficulties  and  dangers  of 

*  Plates  29-32. 


a  campaign  there,  and  that  the  Germans  were  far  behind  their 
Gallic  cousins  in  civilisation.  The  problem  seems  to  me 
insoluble  unless  we  accept  the  theory  that  the  whole  scheme 
was  part  of  the  search  for  a  natural  strategic  frontier  under- 
taken with  false  notions  of  geography.  It  is  certain  that  many 
of  the  ancients  believed  that  they  would  find  the  Ocean  again 
where  Russia  is,  and  that  the  Caspian  Sea  was  part  of  it.  In 
that  case  the  Romans  may  have  hoped  to  round  off  their 
empire  satisfactorily  in  this  direction.  It  would  explain  the 
curious  tactics  by  which  Roman  expeditions  crossing  the  Rhine 
and  plunging  into  the  heart  of  Germany  ordered  their  fleets  to 
coast  along  the  Dutch  and  Danish  shores. 

From  whatever  motives  it  was  undertaken,  this  penetration 
of  Germany  and  its  ultimate  failure  was  a  fact  of  vast  conse- 
quence in  the  history  of  Europe.  From  one  point  of  view  the 
history  of  Europe  may  be  described  as  a  record  of  the  various 
relations  between  the  Roman  and  the  German  elements,  with 
occasional  incursions  from  the  Celtic  or  Turanian  fringes.  It 
is  one  long  contest  between  Latin  and  Teutonic  race,  religion, 
language,  law,  and  ideas  political  and  economic.  Hence  it  is 
impossible  to  overrate  the  importance  of  the  moment  when  the 
first  round  of  that  age-long  contest  was  fought  out  and  settled. 
Hidden  among  the  forests  in  those  mysterious  wildernesses 
beyond  the  Rhine  were  the  numerous  tribes  who  were  destined 
one  day  to  form  the  nations  of  Europe.  Here  were  the 
Saxons  of  Saxony  and  England,  the  Swabians,  the  Franks,  the 
Vandals,  the  Burgundians,  the  Goths,  the  Lombards,  and  many 
others,  yet  unnamed,  the  germs  of  the  nations. 

It  was  by  no  means  their  first  entrance  on  the  stage  of 
history.  We  believe  that  the  dominant  races  of  historical 
Greece,  and  perhaps  of  historical  Rome,  traced  back  their 
ancestry  to  the  central  regions  of  Europe.  Since  then  history 
had  recorded  several  alarming  incursions  of  northern  barbarians, 
and  in  a  general  sense  the  story  of  the  Mediterranean  peoples 
shows  how  wave  after  wave  of  strong  warriors  from  the  North 
descended  upon  the  fertile  peninsulas  of  the  South,  which 



always  absorbed  and  assimilated  them,  until  finally  they  became 
a  prey  to  the  enervating  influences  of  climate,  melted  into  the 
native  strain,  and  had  to  make  room  for  a  fresh  wave  of  un- 
tamed northerners.  Read  in  this  light,  extraordinary  interest 
attaches  to  the  moment  when  all-conquering  Rome  attempted 
to  conquer  the  wilds  which  sheltered  these  mighty  tribes.  If 
she  had  succeeded  in  taming  and  Romanising  the  Germans 
also,  as  she  had  done  with  the  Spaniards  and  Gauls,  the  course 
of  history  might  have  been  very  different.  But  even  then, 
though  she  knew  it  not,  behind  the  Teutonic  peoples  lay  the 
Slavs,  and  behind  them  the  Tartars  and  the  Huns.  The  task 
of  civilising  the  world  from  a  single  centre  was  impossible. 
Augustus  would  have  been  wiser  to  choose  a  strong  frontier  first 
and  then  proceed  gradually  by  peaceful  penetration.  Probably 
Augustus  judged  that  the  policy  of  buffer  states  which  he  had 
applied  in  the  East  was  not  applicable  to  barbarians.  As  it 
was,  conquest  was  the  method  he  selected,  contrary  to  his  usual 
custom  and  contrary  to  his  natural  inclination.  Herein  success 
led  to  over-confidence  and  so  to  disaster. 

We  always  term  the  people  over  the  wall  "  barbarians,"  but 
the  Germans  had  their  various  political  and  social  systems  and 
some  of  their  tribes  were  more  civilised  than  others.  By 
comparing  the  Commentaries  of  Caesar  with  the  Germania  of 
Tacitus  we  get  a  fairly  comprehensive  notion  of  German 
institutions,  which,  it  must  be  remembered,  were  those  of  our 
own  ancestors.  They  had  no  cities.  Like  the  Gauls  they 
were  grouped  in  tribes  and  the  tribes  were  subdivided  into 
cantons,  the  cantons  into  villages.  They  lived  on  the  produce 
of  their  flocks  and  herds,  on  the  chase,  and  on  a  primitive  type 
of  "extensive"  agriculture,  which  involved  fresh  ploughlands 
every  year  and  thus  caused  continual  unrest  and  jostling  of 
tribe  against  tribe.  This  was  what  made  them  such  trouble- 
some neighbours  to  the  Gauls,  and  led  to  those  gigantic 
"treks"  which  meet  us  from  time  to  time  in  history.  Their 
only  political  system  was  a  fighting  organisation;  hereditary 
chiefs  and  princes  led  them  in  battle  and  the  general  in  a  large 











movement  was  elected  from  amongst  the  princes  by  the  free- 
men of  the  tribe.  In  peace  there  was  no  general  magistracy, 
but  the  elders  and  priests  administered  justice  in  the  villages. 
Among  the  warriors  there  was  a  rough  freedom  and  equality. 
The  free  warrior  had  very  considerable  rights,  but  only  as  a 
warrior.  Among  the  Suevi,  according  to  Caesar,  there  were  a 
hundred  cantons,  each  of  which  furnished  a  thousand  men  to 
the  army  for  a  year's  service  while  the  rest  stayed  at  home  to 
carry  on  agriculture  and  hunting.  But  this  seems,  if  it  is 
accurate,  to  be  an  exceptional  degree  of  organisation.  The 
chastity,  the  patriotism,  the  honesty  of  these  barbarians  as  well 
as  their  courage  and  gigantic  stature  were  favourite  themes  for 
Roman  eloquence.  It  is  likely  enough  that  Tacitus  heightened 
their  virtues  with  his  satirical  instinct  in  order  to  point  a  moral 
to  his  fellow-countrymen. 

Julius  Caesar  had  left  the  Rhine  as  the  frontier  of  his  Gallic 
provinces,  though  he  had  crossed  it  twice  by  way  of  recon- 
naissance. Quite  at  the  beginning  of  Augustus's  presidency, 
the  Suevi  had  had  to  be  chased  back  across  the  Rhine,  and  the 
Treveri  across  the  Moselle.  At  this  time,  Germany  was  still 
for  administrative  purposes  a  part  of  the  Gallic  provinces,  and 
as  a  rule  there  was  some  high  officer  in  charge  of  both.  The 
Rhine  was  not  impassable  to  the  barbarians,  and  moreover  there 
were  Germanic  tribes  on  both  sides  of  it,  such  as  the  Treveri 
of  Trier  and  the  Ubii  of  Cologne,  who  were  in  frequent  inter- 
course with  their  neighbours  on  the  other  side.  This  made 
the  river  a  somewhat  insufficient  boundary.  There  were  inroads 
of  German  barbarians  in  29,  25,  20  and  16  B.C.  In  the  latter 
case  a  Roman  legate  was  surprised  and  defeated,  and  the  eagle 
of  the  Fifth  Legion  carried  off  in  triumph. 

This  brought  Augustus  to  the  spot,  and  he  spent  two  years 
in  studying  the  problems  of  Gaul  and  Germany.  In  12  B.C. 
the  first  campaign  was  undertaken  under  the  command  of 
Drusus,  his  younger  stepson.  Drusus,  who  was  not  yet  twenty- 
five,  was  the  most  brilliant  figure  of  his  day,  brave,  handsome, 
virtuous,  adored  by  the  soldiers,  and  a  thoroughly  capable 



general.  On  this  occasion  he  crossed  the  Rhine  and  descended 
into  Dutch  territory,  laying  waste  the  lands  of  the  Sygambri 
and  the  other  hostile  tribes  who  had  provoked  these  punitive 
measures.  He  accepted  the  submission  of  the  Frisians  who 
lived  on  the  coast  of  North  Holland.  During  the  winter  his 
troops  seem  to  have  been  employed  in  cutting  a  canal  from 
the  Rhine  to  the  Zuyder  Zee.  Next  year  he  crossed  again, 
marched  on,  and  threw  a  bridge  across  the  Lippe,  crossed  the 
territory  of  the  Cherusci — the  most  warlike  of  all  the  tribes — 
and  halted  on  the  banks  of  the  Weser.  He  built  a  great  fort 
at  the  junction  of  the  Lippe  and  the  Alme  or  Ems,  and  cut  a 
highway  along  the  banks  of  the  Lippe  to  join  the  new  fort 
Aliso  with  a  great  camp  on  the  Rhine  near  Xanten.  In  the 
next  year  there  was  more  building  and  settling,  and  in  9  B.C. 
came  the  great  effort.  Drusus  marched  out  into  Suabia 
and  Cheruscia,  crossed  the  Weser,  ravaging  everywhere,  and 
reached  the  Elbe.  This  river  he  essayed  to  cross,  but  he  could 
not,  and,  as  the  historians  put  it,  omens  appeared  to  forbid 
further  progress.  This  then  was  the  Roman  limit.  Somewhere 
between  the  Saale  and  the  Weser,  Drusus  fell  from  his  horse 
and  sustained  injuries  which  resulted  in  his  death.  Augustus, 
though  greatly  grieved,  determined  to  continue  his  operations. 
Tiberius  was  sent  to  continue  the  work,  and  40,000  Sygambrians 
were  transported  into  Roman  territory.  We  know  little  of  the 
work  of  the  next  dozen  years.  Another  legate  reached  the 
Elbe.  A  great  viaduct  was  constructed  between  the  Ems  and 
the  Rhine.  During  this  period  the  pacification  was  apparently 
proceeding  with  rapidity.  Many  of  the  young  Germans  came 
into  the  Roman  camp  and  learnt  Roman  ways  and  Latin  speech. 
The  head-quarters  were  still  at  Vetera  Castra  near  Xanten  and 
at  Mogontiacum  (Mainz),  with  summer  quarters  at  Aliso.  In 
A.D.  4  fresh  campaigns  were  undertaken  by  Tiberius.  For 
many  of  these  expeditions  the  Roman  historians  offer  no  excuse 
or  justification.  They  record  with  pride  the  immense  slaughter 
and  devastation  that  accompanied  them.  It  is  hard  to  resist 
the  conclusion  that  much  of  this  fighting  was  undertaken  for 








its  own  sake,  or  to  exercise  the  legions.  In  A.D.  5  the  greatest 
expedition  of  all  was  undertaken.  There  was  a  great  "  durbar  " 
at  which  the  wild  Chauci  and  Cherusci  handed  in  their  weapons 
and  did  obeisance  to  the  Roman  general.  The  Langobardi 
— later  known  as  the  Lombards — submitted,  and  Tiberius 
crossed  the  Elbe  itself,  while  the  fleet  which  had  "circum- 
navigated the  recesses  of  the  Ocean"  sailed  up  the  river  to 
meet  the  army  with  supplies.  All  seemed  to  be  going  well : 
Germany  was  nearly  conquered.  There  only  remained  the 
powerful  kingdom  of  the  Marcomanni  under  King  Marbod,  who 
dwelt  in  the  fastnesses  of  Bohemia.  Marbod  was  an  able  ruler 
who  alone  in  Germany  had  succeeded  in  establishing  a  strong 
throne,  and  had  drilled  a  powerful  army  of  70,000  foot  and 
4000  horse.  As  the  historian  Velleius  observes,  his  Alpine 
boundaries  were  only  two  hundred  miles  from  Italy,  and  this 
formidable  power  was  a  real  menace  to  the  safety  of  the  empire. 
Accordingly  elaborate  plans  were  made  for  his  destruction  by 
an  invasion  from  three  sides  at  once.  Unfortunately  just  at 
the  moment  when  the  armies  were  converging  upon  their  prey, 
there  broke  out  the  great  Pannonian  and  Illyrian  revolt  of 
A.D.  6,  which  brought  all  the  tribes  of  Austria  down  upon  the 
Romans.  It  was  one  of  the  most  dangerous  moments  in 
Roman  history.  Fifteen  legions  were  employed  against  them, 
and  the  military  resources  of  the  Empire 
strained  almost  to  breaking-point.  Luckily 
for  Rome,  Marbod  made  no  attempt  to 
join  the  revolt,  and  the  barbarians  were 
under  divided  leadership.  Germanicus, 
the  son  of  Drusus,  helped  Tiberius  to  crush 
them,  but  it  took  three  or  four  years  to 
accomplish  it. 

Meanwhile   Germany  itself  had  to  be        Portrait  of  Varus 
content  with   inferior  legates.     Quintilius 
Varus  was  one  of  those  amiable  men  who  cause  mutinies  by 
kindness.     He  fancied  that  Germany  was  tranquil.     He  went 
about  founding  cities,  holding  assizes,  collecting  tribute  and 



giving  justice  according  to  Roman  law  precisely  "  as  if  he  had 
been  a  city  praetor  in  the  Forum  at  Rome  and  not  a  general 
in  the  German  forests."  Accordingly  in  A.D.  9  a  plot  was 
hatched  against  him.  He  was  enticed  away  into  the  recesses 
of  the  Saltus  Teutoburgiensis  and  slaughtered.  Then  the 
Cheruscan  army  swept  down  upon  the  three  Roman  legions 
and  destroyed  them. 

In  itself  the  disaster  was  not  overwhelming.  Three  legions 
had  perished,  but  fifteen  more,  flushed  with  their  recent  victory 
over  the  Illyrians,  were  at  hand  to  avenge  them.  The 
Cheruscans  immediately  submitted  and  Germanicus  found  no 
serious  opposition  when  he  penetrated  Germany  on  an  errand 
of  chastisement.  But  for  Augustus  the  reverse  was  decisive. 
He  was  now  an  old  enfeebled  man.  When  he  heard  of  the 
disaster  he  beat  his  head  against  the  wall  and  was  often  heard 
to  cry :  "  Varus,  give  me  back  my  legions."  He  saw  that  there 
was  no  end  to  these  adventures  in  the  forest  and  no  profit  in 
them.  As  a  frontier  the  Elbe  was  no  better  than  the  Rhine. 
Therefore  he  had  the  supremely  good  sense  to  accept  the 
Rhine  as  his  frontier.  Henceforth  Rhine  and  Danube  with 
roads  and  forts  along  them,  and  with  special  arrangements  to 
strengthen  the  angle  where  the  rivers  run  small — that  should 
be  bulwark  enough  for  the  present.  And  so  it  was. 

The  patriotism  of  German  historians  has  made  of  this 
defeat  of  Varus  rather  more  than  it  deserves.  Arminius  the 
young  Cheruscan  who  led  the  attack  was  a  patriot  though  a 
traitor.  He  had  been,  says  Velleius,  a  faithful  ally  in  previous 
campaigns  and  had  even  attained  Roman  citizenship  and 
equestrian  rank.  He  spoke  Latin  fluently.  His  very  name  is 
most  probably  a  Latin  cognomen,  though  the  patriotism  of  the 
Germans  will  call  him  "  Hermann."  So  the  German  student  of 
to-day  sings  over  his  beer : 

Dann  zieh'n  wir  aus  zur  Hermannschlacht 
Und  wollen  Rache  haben. 

It  was  not  half  so  gallant  an  act  of  revolt  as  that  of  our  British 








lady,  Boadicea,  but  it  had  the  merit  of  success.  The  Germans 
were  able  to  develop  their  strength  behind  the  artificial 
ramparts  of  the  Rhine  and  Danube  until  the  time  came  for 
them  to  burst  through  in  conquest. 

It  is  commonly  said  that  Augustus  immediately  after  A.D.  9 
formed  two  provinces  called  Upper  and  Lower  Germany  along 
the  Rhine  as  if  to  conceal  his  loss  of  the  real  Germany.  This 
is  not  exact.  In  the  warfare  of  Tiberius's  days  the  historians 
speak  only  of  the  Upper  or  the  Lower  Army  in  Germany,  and 
Augustus  in  his  monument  speaks  of  Germany  in  the  singular. 
Under  Tiberius  ample  revenge  was  taken  for  the  defeat  and 
Germanicus  again  and  again  traversed  Germany.  The  Varus 
disaster  was  only  one  of  the  episodes  which  decided  the 
Romans  to  halt  at  the  Rhine.  Aliso  was  long  retained  as  an 
outpost,  and  colonies  of  Roman  veterans  were  planted  on 
German  soil.  The  Cheruscans  and  Arminius  were  defeated  in 
a  tremendous  battle  at  Idistavisus  near  Minden  on  the  Weser 
in  A.D.  1 6.  But  on  the  way  back  the  Roman  fleet  was  ship- 
wrecked and  a  great  many  prisoners  fell  into  the  hands  of  the 
Germans.  Some  of  these  were  sold  as  slaves  to  the  Britons  and 
many  eventually  returned  to  Rome  bringing  back  marvellous 
stories  of  their  adventures.  As  for  Marbod,  he  was  defeated 
in  a  battle  with  the  Cheruscans  and  took  refuge  on  Roman 
soil,  where  he  lived  for  eighteen  years  at  Ravenna.  Arminius, 
his  conqueror,  began  to  play  the  tyrant  in  his  native  tribe  and 
was  slain  by  the  treachery  of  his  kinsmen  at  the  age  of  thirty- 
seven.  His  wife  Thusnelda  and  his  son  had  long  ago  fallen 
into  the  hands  of  the  Romans  and  the  boy  grew  up  as  a  Roman 

The  headquarters  of  the  Rhine  legions  continued  to  be  at 
Mainz  and  Xanten  with  summer  quarters  at  the  new  Colonia 
which  became  Cologne.  Four  legions  of  the  Upper  Army 
were  stationed  at  the  former,  and  four  of  the  Lower  Army  at 
the  latter.  In  due  course,  we  cannot  say  when,  these  became 
the  centres  of  two  separate  provinces.  On  the  Danube  there 
were  three  legions  in  Pannonia,  the  great  new  Austrian  province. 



Along  this  frontier  there  was  now  a  double  line  of  Caesarian 
provinces.  Rhaetia  and  Noricum  were  conquered  in  15  B.C. 
Then  there  were  tedious  and  unprofitable  campaigns  in  the 
southern  Swiss  valleys  as  the  result  of  which  a  row  of  little 
Alpine  prefectures  was  established.  There  is  still  a  fine 
monument  to  Augustus  on  the  heights  above  Monaco 
enumerating  forty-six  Alpine  tribes  made  subject  to  Rome. 
It  was  erected  by  the  gratitude  of  the  Italian  farmers,  for  the 
Alpine  tribes  had  always  scourged  the  plains.  Roads  were 
constructed  here  and  there  over  the  Alps.  The  principal  pass 
to  Germany  lay  by  way  of  Turin  and  the  St.  Bernard  with 
Augusta  (Aosta)  to  guard  it.  In  Pannonia  the  old  route  from 
Aquilegia  over  the  Julian  Alps  was  restored  and  a  new  Via 
Claudia  constructed  up  the  valley  of  the  Adige  from  Tridentum 
(Trent)  to  Augusta  (Augsburg).  To  round  off  the  Danube 
frontier  Moesia  or  Mysia  was  conquered  quite  at  the  beginning 
of  the  period  and  added  as  an  Imperial  province,  probably  in 
A.D.  6,  under  a  prefect.  It  stretched  along  the  south  bank  of 
the  Danube,  down  to  the  Black  Sea,  and  embraced  part  of  the 
Balkan  high  lands.  Thus  with  strong  legions  posted  in 
permanent  encampments  all  along  the  Rhine  and  Danube,  Rome 
had  now  a  satisfactory  northern  frontier  which  only  required 
guarding  to  keep  Rome  and  Italy  in  security. 

Spain  had  never  been  entirely  subjugated  though  it  had 
been  in  the  possession  of  the  Republic  for  nearly  two  centuries. 
Parts  of  it  indeed  were  almost  as  Roman  as  Rome.  Gades 
and  Corduba,  for  example,  were  centres  of  learning  and 
literature,  soon  to  produce  citizens  of  renown  in  Lucan,  Seneca, 
Martial,  Quintilian,  and  an  emperor  in  Trajan — a  most  dis- 
tinguished galaxy.  But  a  great  part  of  Spain  was  still  in  the 
hands  of  wild  and  chivalrous  barbarians.  Particularly  in  the  north- 
west the  Cantabrians  and  Asturians  were  a  menace  to  the 
peaceful  province.  For  eight  years  and  more  the  Romans 
continued  to  fight  them  with  brief  intervals  termed  "victories." 
Augustus  himself  came  over  in  26  B.C.  and  directed  operations 
comfortably  from  Tarraco.  The  leader  of  the  rebels  was  a 











hero-chief  called  Corocotta  who  so  exasperated  the  Romans 

that  Augustus  offered  .£10,000  for  his  capture.     This  sum  the 

brigand  earned  by  walking  into  the  Roman  camp  to  surrender, 

and  Augustus,  charmed  at  the  idea,  gave  him  his  liberty  as 

well  as  the  reward.     He  married  a  Roman  wife  and  died  a 

Roman  citizen  as  Gaius  Julius  Caracuttus.     Caesar  himself  fell 

seriously  ill  in  the  course  of  the  long  campaign.     Both  sides 

increased  in  ferocity.     The  Romans  crucified  their  prisoners 

and   the   Spaniards   mocked   them   from   the   cross.     Finally 

Augustus  had  to  send  for  Agrippa  to  finish  the  business,  which 

he  did  in  19  B.C.     Now  Spain  was  really  conquered  for  ever 

and  even  the  northern  highlanders  laid  down  their  arms  and 

accepted    civilisation.      Bsetica,    the    southern    part    of    the 

peninsula,  was  given  to  the  senate  to  govern,  and  the  northern 

half   divided  into  the  two  imperial  provinces,  Tarraconensis 

and  Lusitania,  the  latter   corresponding   roughly   to   modern 

Portugal.      In  Spain  also  altars  were   erected  to   Rome   and 

Augustus.     Roads  radiated  out  from  Tarraco.     Many  towns 

were  founded,  such  as  Caesar  Augusta  (Saragossa),  Augusta 

Emerita  (Merida),  Pax  Julia  (Beja),  Legiones  (Leon),  Asturica 

Augusta   (Astorga).     The  Celtic  religion  and  probably  the 

very  language  quickly  became  extinct.     Even  in  the  time  of 

Augustus    there   were    fifty   communities   with    full    Roman 

citizenship.      New    mines   were    discovered    and    vigorously 

worked,  new  industries,  especially  in  metal,  carefully  fostered. 

This  brief  and  imperfect  sketch  of  the  Roman  Empire,  as  it 
took  shape  under  the  all-seeing  eye  of  Augustus,  should  indicate, 
more  than  all  the  triumphs  she  won  in  battle,  more,  even,  than 
the  story  of  the  Punic  Wars,  the  real  "Grandeur  that  was 
Rome."  The  true  greatness  of  the  Roman  lies  in  his  indomit- 
able energy  and  his  practical  good  sense,  not  to  be  obscured 
by  the  surface  of  rhetorical  culture  which  had  come  to  over- 
lay it  in  these  latter  generations.  Now  that  Rome  had  at  last 
secured  for  herself  a  reasonably  secure  and  sensible  form  of 
government,  she  was  able  to  exercise  her  natural  capacity  for 



affairs  and  to  play  the  part  which  destiny  had  assigned  to  her 
of  propagating  civilisation  throughout  Europe.  If  the  his- 
torians would  allow  us,  we  should  gladly  turn  away  from  the 
wars  and  proscriptions  to  study  the  quiet  useful  work  which 
she  was  performing  now  and  henceforth  in  every  corner  of  her 
empire.  The  motive  was,  no  doubt,  self-interest,  but  it  was 
that  broad  and  far-seeing  selfishness  which  in  the  realm  of 
public  affairs  is  the  nearest  approach  to  altruism.  The 
Republic  that  sucked  the  blood  of  her  provinces  is  detestable 
to  all  right-thinking  men.  The  autocracy  that  cleared  out  the 
canals  in  Egypt,  planted  flax  and  encouraged  pottery  in  Gaul, 
irrigated  Africa  and  taught  agriculture  to  the  Moorish  nomads, 
set  the  wild  Iberians  to  mining  and  weaving,  built  aqueducts 
and  roads  everywhere,  established  a  postal  system  and  policed 
land  and  sea  so  effectively  that  a  man  might  fare  from  York 
to  Palmyra,  or  from  Trier  to  Morocco  "  with  his  bosom  full  of 
gold,"  may  be  tyranny  governing  in  its  own  interests,  but  it  is 
an  institution  for  which  the  world  has  every  reason  to  be 











Pater  argentarius,  ego  Corinthiarius. 

Anonymous  satire  on.  Augustus  quoted  by  SUETONIUS. 

HROUGHOUT  his  great  task  of  repairing 
a  world  which  had  fallen  to  pieces,  Augus- 
tus was  by  no  means  ignorant  of  the  fact 
that  it  is  the  "  spirit  that  maketh  alive." 
Indeed  it  was  his  constant  endeavour  to 
alter  facts  without  changing  their  names. 
He  was  well  aware  that  Sulla  had  failed 
miserably  when  he  tossed  the  Romans  a 
constitution  and  left  nothing  but  an  oath  to 
support  it.  To  adjust  frontiers  and  organise 
new  provinces  with  the  help  of  his  trusty 
and  invincible  little  legionaries  was  probably  the  pleasantest 
and  the  easiest  part  of  Caesar's  task.  To  reform  the  ancient 
imperial  city  with  her  centuries  of  proud  and  brutal  tradition 
was  equally  essential,  but  it  was  desperate  work.  For  the 
Empire  of  Augustus  was  born  into  the  world  suffering 
from  degeneration  of  the  heart.  The  nobility,  upon  which 
everything  that  was  great  and  glorious  in  Roman  history  de- 
pended, was  morally  corrupt,  intellectually  inert,  spiritually 
void,  and  even  physically  decrepit  and  sterile.  The  civil  wars 
and  proscriptions  had  systematically  pruned  away  all  that  was 
virile  and  spirited  in  its  ranks.  The  trimmers  and  nonentities 
had  survived.  The  women,  long  since  deprived  of  the  iron 
control  which  had  kept  them  in  order  under  the  old  system  of 
the  Roman  family,  dominated  society  with  an  influence  that 



was  generally  evil.     The  Roman  boudoir  with  its  throng  of 
slaves  and  parasites  was  not  only  profligate,  but  it  had  already 
begun  to  produce  the  type  of  murderous  intriguers  which  we 
meet  more  prominently  in  the   Messalinas  and  Faustinas   of 
imperial  history.     But  as  there  were  virtuous  exceptions  like 
Octavia   and   Agrippina   among  the  women,  so   there   were 
among  the  men  a  few  nobles  of  probity  and  honour  who  had 
somehow,  probably  by  hiding  themselves  away  on  their  country 
estates,  survived  all  the  conflicts  of  the  past  generation.     But 
these,  who  read  Roman  history  in  the  same  light  as  Livy,  were 
lovers  of  the  old  regime,  suspicious  and  bitterly  jealous   of 
the  new.     We  have  seen  that  one  of  the  first  official  acts  of 
Augustus  was  to  restore  the  patriciate.      But  it  is   easier  to 
make  peers  than  patricians,  and  we  may  be  sure  that  there  was 
little  love  between  the  old  aristocracy  and  the  new.     Augustus 
himself,  though  the  "son  of  the  god  Julius"  and  descended 
through  his   mother  from  Venus   and   Anchises,  was  on  the 
father's  side  only  just  respectable.      By  nature  and  instinct, 
however,  he  was  an  aristocrat.     All  his  life  long  he  strove  to 
win  over  the  aristocracy  to  the  support  of  his  regime.     But 
he   failed,  and   failed  disastrously.     Whence  throughout  the 
history  of  the  Empire  we  have  in  existence  more  or  less  pro- 
minently a  conservative  opposition  of  old  nobles,  genuine  or 
spurious,  sometimes  plotting  manfully  and  dying   nobly,  but 
more  often  sneering  and  writing  in  secret  against  the  emperors. 
But  most  of  the  old  aristocracy  lacked  the  spirit  to  oppose 
Augustus.     The  few  plots   which   came   to   light  were  con- 
temptible affairs.     Some  of  the  nobles  came  down  to  the  senate 
and  devoted  their  intellects  to  the  choice  of  a  new  cognomen 
for  the  new  Csesar,  or  vied  with  one  another  in  proposing  fresh 
titles  of  honour   for   him.      But   they   soon   discovered   that 
flattery  was  not  very  lucrative  in  the  face  of  their  chilly  and 
statuesque   master.     Politics  at  Rome  had  lost  their  savour 
when  there  was   no   chance  of  blood  to  follow.      The  noble 
senators  had  to  be  coerced  into  attending  at  the  curia;  they 
devoted  their  gifts  to  drawing-room  battles,  they  collected  objets 



FIG.   2.      ROMAN  AND  DACIAN 



de  luxe,  they  wrote  bad  verses  and  sometimes  bad  histories,  and 
they  practised  all  the  vices.  They  had  no  religion  and  very 
little  philosophy.  Above  all  the  old  Roman  family  upon  which 
the  piers  of  Roman  society  had  rested  was  now  in  ruins.  To 
be  the  husband  of  one  wife  from  marriage  to  death  was,  so  far  as 
the  records  go,  a  rare  exception.  This  was  no  innovation  of  the 
Empire.  For  a  century  or  more  men  had  changed  their  wives 
every  few 'years  for  the  sake  of  a  fortune  or  a  political  alliance. 

Augustus  set  before  himself,  as  one  of  the  most  important 
phases  of  his  task  of  regeneration,  the  moral  purification  of 
this  society.  He  had  provided  the  provinces  with  a  new 
religion  which  involved  a  new  social  organisation.  But  the 
cloak  of  republicanism  in  which  he  had  chosen  to  drape  his 
autocracy  forbade  him  to  make  himself  a  god  in  Rome.  On 
the  contrary  he  steadily  forbade  extravagant  flattery.  He  was 
not  even  to  be  called  "  dominus."  It  is  true  that  the  mayors 
of  the  new  boroughs  into  which  he  divided  Rome  were  allowed 
to  set  up  altars  to  the  Lares  and  Genius  of  Augustus.*  Outside 
the  city  throughout  Italy  there  were  temples  to  Augustus  and 
priests  in  his  service.  As  usual  it  was  a  mere  quibble  when 
he  declined  divine  honours  in  Rome.  Vergil  had  plainly 
called  him  a  god  at  the  very  moment  when  he  was  dyeing  his 
hands  in  Roman  blood.  Julius  Caesar  had  been  formally 
deified  and  Augustus  regularly  styled  himself  "divi  filius." 
The  title  of  "augustus"  itself  carried  the  notion  of  tran- 
scendent power.  Thus  the  emperor  stood  on  the  threshold  of 
heaven,  at  any  rate  for  the  poorer  classes,  even  in  Rome  itself. 
But  for  the  aristocracy  something  else  was  needed:  it  is  of 
little  profit  to  claim  divinity  in  a  society  of  atheists.  For 
Roman  society,  as  typified  by  Ovid,  the  gods  were  little  more 
than  a  literary  convention,  and  it  would  do  a  respectable  man 
little  credit  to  be  enrolled  in  their  company. 

For  the  reformation  of  Roman  society  Augustus  had 
recourse  to  three  methods — legislation,  culture,  and  example. 
The  legislation  consisted  of  a  whole  series  of  laws  solemnly 

*  Plate  35,  Fig.  i. 

P  225 


passed  through  senate  and  comitia  in  the  years  18  and  17  B.C. 
To  give  them  additional  sanctity  they  were  called  Julian  laws. 
There  was  one  enacting  heavier  penalties  for  adultery,  another 
permitting  marriage  between  citizens  and  freedwomen,  designed 
to  meet  the  circumstance  that  men  outnumbered  women  in  the 
ranks  of  the  aristocracy.  There  were  also  sumptuary  laws  to 
curb  extravagance.  There  were  laws  imposing  penalties  on 
celibacy  and  discouraging  the  fortune-hunters  who  lay  in  wait 
for  the  rich  bachelor's  legacies.  Fiscal  privileges  were  granted 
to  the  fathers  of  families,  and  Augustus  himself  went  down  to 
the  house  and  read  the  senate  an  old  speech  of  Metellus  on 
the  increase  of  population.  Unfortunately  the  emperor  himself 
had  not  set  a  good  example  in  the  matter  of  parentage.  He 
had  had  three  wives  but  only  one  child,  a  daughter.  Still  he 
exhibited  himself  in  the  theatre  in  the  capacity  of  a  father  by 
collecting  the  children  of  Germanicus  about  his  knees.  Of 
course  legislation  proved  quite  helpless  in  the  matter,  besides 
arousing  a  good  deal  of  ill-feeling  which  was  chiefly  displayed 
in  the  ranks  of  the  knights. 

Augustus  was  in  a  very  difficult  position  when  it  came  to 
setting  an  example.  The  principal  evils  which  his  social  code 
was  designed  to  remedy  were  the  prevalence  of  adultery,  the 
frequency  of  divorce,  voluntary  celibacy  and  formal  marriages 
contracted  without  intention  of  producing  offspring,  and  finally, 
as  a  consequence  of  celibacy,  the  prevalence  of  a  regular  pro- 
fession of  fortune-hunting.  There  was  scarcely  one  of  these 
necessary  reforms  to  which  Caesar  himself  came  with  clean 
hands.  He  had  begun  his  matrimonial  career  by  repudiating 
his  young  betrothed ;  he  had  then  married  an  immature  virgin, 
and  divorced  her  for  political  reasons  before  the  marriage  was 
consummated;  in  the  third  place  he  had  married  Scribonia, 
who  had  already  had  two  husbands,  and  whose  son  was  already 
a  man  at  the  time  of  her  marriage  to  Augustus.  She  was  many 
years  older  than  he,  and  the  marriage  was  intended  to  secure 
a  reconciliation  with  Sextus  Pompeius.  This  third  matrimonial 
venture  was  terminated  in  a  manner  which  shocked  even 


Roman  society.     On  the  very  day  when  Scribonia  became  a 
mother  by  him,  Augustus  put  her  away    charging   her  with 
immorality,  though  he  kept  her  infant  Julia  as  his  own  and 
only  child.     He  had  been  fascinated,  it  seems,  by  the  fair  face 
and  brilliant  abilities  of  Livia  Drusilla.     Livia  was  of   the 
highest  ancestry  in  Rome,  a  descendant  of  Appius  Claudius, 
and  attached  by  adoption  to  another  very  noble  family,  the 
Livii.     Also  she  had  married  another  scion  of  the  illustrious 
Claudian  house,  the  proudest  in  Rome,  and  at  the  age  of  fifteen 
had  become  the  mother  of  Tiberius.      Her  father  had  chosen 
the  losing  side  at  Philippi,  and  committed  suicide  after  the 
battle.      Her  husband,  Claudius  Nero,  had  taken  arms  against 
Augustus — or    Octavian,    as    he   then   was — in  the    Perusine 
War,  and  his  life  was  forfeited.     His  beautiful  wife  sued  the 
conqueror  for  mercy,  and  mercy  was  granted  upon  conditions. 
Nero  was  compelled  not  only  to  divorce  his  wife,  but  to  act  the 
part  of  a  father  and  give  her  away  in  marriage  to  Augustus. 
She  was  then  not  only  the  mother  of  Tiberius,  but  just  about 
to  become  the  mother  of  Drusus,  who  was  born  in  the  house 
of  Augustus  three  months  after  the  marriage.     This,  then,  was 
the  model  family  on  the  Palatine  which  was  to  set  an  example 
to  the  Roman  aristocracy — a  daughter  whose  mother  had  been 
divorced  on  the  day  of  her  birth,  a  mother  who  had  been  sold 
by  her  husband,  and   two   stepsons  whose   father  had   been 
divorced.     The  sequel  scarcely  improved  matters.     Julia  grew 
up  and  was  married  first  to  the  boy  Marcellus,  then  to  Agrippa, 
by  whom  she  had  a  large  family,  and  when   Agrippa   died, 
Tiberius  was  forced  to  put  away  his  wife,  Agrippa's  daughter 
Vipsania,  whom  he  really  loved,  and  marry  the  widow  Julia, 
whose  immorality  he  knew  and  detested.     At  last  the  profligacy 
of  Julia  grew  so  open  and  notorious  that  Augustus  was  in- 
formed of  it  and  compelled  to  banish  her  in  company  with  her 
mother  Scribonia,  who  had  survived  to  see  her  shame.      Later 
on  a  second  Julia,  the  daughter  of  the  first,  suffered  a  precisely 
similar  fate. 

As  for  Livia  the  empress,  if  we  choose  to  call  her  by  that 



title,  there  is  no  doubt  that  she  was  a  singularly  beautiful  and 
clever  woman,  who  managed  to  retain  the  affections  of  Augustus 
for  over  forty  years — in  itself  a  remarkable  feat  in  Roman 
society.  History  records  in  her  favour  many  acts  of  royal 
mercy  and  charity.  She  seconded  her  husband's  efforts  at 
reform,  and  established  a  powerful  ascendancy  over  him  and 
over  Tiberius.  There  is  no  whisper  against  her  chastity  when 
once  she  entered  the  household  of  Augustus.  But  on  the  other 
hand  there  are  very  serious  charges  of  crime  made  by  contem- 
poraries and  recorded  by  Tacitus,  charges  which  are  supported 
by  the  strongest  circumstantial  evidence.  The  suspicion  is  that 
she  was  fighting  all  her  life  long  without  remorse  or  scruple  for 
the  succession  of  her  son  Tiberius.  Augustus  did  not  intend 
to  be  succeeded  by  a  Claudius.  This  he  showed  again  and 
again  in  the  most  public  manner.  His  aim,  as  soon  as  he  knew 
that  he  was  destined  to  leave  no  male  offspring  of  his  own  body, 
was  to  leave  the  succession  in  the  sacred  Julian  line,  the  family 
descended  from  Venus,  the  house  of  the  star.  But  that  could 
only  be  secured  through  the  female  line.  His  first  choice  was 
the  brilliant  young  Marcellus,  son  of  his  sister  Octavia. 
Marcellus,  who  had  been  the  first  husband  of  Julia,  died  of  a 
mysterious  complaint  just  as  he  came  of  age.  Then  Augustus 
married  Julia  to  Agrippa,  and  two  of  her  sons,  Gaius  and 
Lucius,  were  next  chosen  for  the  succession.  They  grew  up 
and  came  of  age.  Just  as  they  were  beginning  public  life, 
Tiberius  having  been  banished  to  make  way  for  them,  they  too 
died  in  the  same  year,  Lucius  on  board  ship  as  he  was  sailing 
to  Marseilles,  Gaius  as  the  sequel  to  an  assassin's  blow  given 
him  in  Armenia.  In  the  first  case  we  have  no  details.  In  the 
second,  Gaius  was  recovering  from  his  wound,  but  he  turned 
aside  to  an  obscure  town  on  the  southern  coast  of  Asia  Minor, 
refused  the  warship  which  had  been  sent  to  convey  him  home, 
and  begged  to  be  allowed  to  live  there  in  obscurity.  The 
circumstance  is  full  of  suspicion  and  mystery.  Moreover, 
before  his  rivals  were  dead  Tiberius  had  word,  from  a  well- 
informed  prophet,  of  their  approaching  decease,  and  returned  to 


Rome.  He  himself,  living  in  banishment,  must  be  acquitted 
of  active  complicity  in  the  crime.  Julia  was  banished  to  a 
lonely  island.  Her  third  son  was  also  put  out  of  sight  for  no 
crime  but  sulkiness  and  grumbling  against  his  stepmother. 
Deprived  of  all  his  hopes,  Augustus  with  very  marked  re- 
luctance adopted  Tiberius,  but  in  his  old  age  he  still  cherished 
the  idea  of  a  reconciliation  with  Julia's  third  son,  Agrippa 
Postumus,  and  actually  visited  in  secret  the  remote  island 
where  he  was  interned.  But  as  soon  as  Augustus  was  dead 
— and  his  death  was  carefully  concealed  as  long  as  possible — 
Agrippa  Postumus  was  murdered,  and  this  time  we  have  direct 
evidence  that  the  crime  was  Livia's.  This  sort  of  domestic 
intrigue,  marked  by  hideous  murders,  is  one  of  the  blackest 
features  of  imperial  history  at  Rome.  It  arose  very  largely 
from  the  illegitimate  character  of  the  imperial  throne,  and  the 
absence  of  any  legalised  system  of  succession. 

Nevertheless,  out  of  these  unpromising  materials  Augustus 
endeavoured  to  organise  a  model  Roman  family  of  the  old 
style.  Livia  and  Julia  were  set  to  work  at  spinning  and 
weaving.  Augustus  would  wear  no  cloaks  but  of  their  making. 
Julia  was  solemnly  counselled  never  to  do  or  say  anything 
which  she  would  be  ashamed  to  write  in  her  diary.  Once  when 
she  built  a  palace  for  herself  Augustus  had  it  demolished.  The 
house  on  the  Palatine  was  of  the  simplest  character,  with  a 
humble  portico  of  the  local  tufa  from  Alba  and  no  decorated 
pavements.  In  food  and  drink  he  was  most  abstemious,  and 
indeed  the  prodigious  industry  of  his  life  left  little  time  for 
banquets.  A  slice  of  bread  made  from  inferior  flour,  with  a 
relish  of  pickled  fish  or  dates  or  olives,  often  served  him  for 
the  day.  He  never  drank  more  than  a  pint  of  wine.  He  slept 
winter  and  summer  in  the  same  room,  and  spent  most  of  the 
year  in  the  city,  unless  he  was  travelling.  His  favourite 
country  seat  was  on  the  island  of  Capri  where  he  could  be  sure 
of  freedom.  His  pleasures  were  simple  and  almost  childish. 
He  liked  a  little  mild  gambling,  he  was  fond  of  playing 
knuckle-bones  with  little  slave-boys.  He  attended  the  circus 



as  a  matter  of  duty  and  was  very  strict  in  enforcing  decency  of 
behaviour  there.  He  set  his  face  against  changes  of  fashion 
and  insisted  that  Roman  citizens  should  wear  the  old-fashioned 
toga  in  public.  All  his  instincts  seem  to  have  been  for 
simplicity  and  clemency.  He  never  permitted  a  freedman  to 
appear  at  his  dinner-table,  but  when  a  slave  of  his  once  pushed 
his  master  into  the  way  of  a  charging  wild  boar  in  order  to 
shield  himself  Augustus  dismissed  the  matter  with  a  joke.  On 
the  other  hand,  when  the  tutor  and  servants  of  Gaius  showed 
themselves  tyrannical  and  overbearing  to  the  provincials  after 
their  young  master's  death,  Caesar  had  them  drowned  like  rats. 
Towards  personal  abuse  of  himself  he  was  singularly  indifferent. 
It  remains  difficult  to  visualise  the  character  of  Augustus. 
Originally  he  was  a  typical  Roman,  as  callous  towards  blood- 
shed and  suffering  as  the  rest  of  them  and  quite  unscrupulous 
in  his  progress  towards  power.  But  when  he  had  attained  it 
he  had  the  greatness  of  mind  to  perceive  that  his  work  of 
repair  could  only  be  done  by  setting  an  example  of  virtuous 
living  and  moderation.  Self-control  was  perhaps  his  most 
powerful  quality. 

Twice  his  self-command  broke  down.  Once  when  he  heard 
of  the  defeat  of  Varus  in  Germany  with  the  loss  of  his  three 
legions,  and  again  when  some  one,  probably  Livia,  revealed  to 
him  the  scandal  concerning  Julia.  Apart  from  the  blow  to  his 
honour  as  a  man,  it  was  the  undoing  of  all  his  measures  for 
reform  and  the  open  publication  of  their  futility.  "  Her  orgies," 
men  said,  "had  been  conducted  upon  the  very  rostra  whence 
her  father's  laws  against  adultery  had  been  proclaimed."  Her 
accomplices  included  the  flower  of  the  old  aristocracy,  a  Scipio 
and  a  Gracchus.  Augustus  hid  himself  from  the  sight  of  men, 
banished  his  daughter  to  a  remote  island  and  officially  informed 
the  senate  by  letter  of  her  disgrace.  He  was  heard  to  cry  out 
that  he  envied  the  father  of  Phcebe,  one  of  Julia's  slaves  who 
had  hanged  herself  when  the  scandal  went  abroad.  He  quoted 
a  Greek  verse : 

"O  that  I  had  been  unwedded  and  died  without  a  child," 



and  he  spoke  of  his  wicked  daughter  as  the  cancer  of  his 

Legislation  was  obviously  futile,  and  example  had  broken 
down.  It  was  only  from  within  that  Roman  society  could  be 
reformed,  only  by  supplying  a  spiritual  influence  which  could 
counteract  the  materialism  and  immorality  of  the  day. 
Augustus  had  tried  in  the  provinces  to  raise  up  a  new  religion 
of  loyalty  and  patriotism  centred  round  the  altar  "to  Rome 
and  Augustus."  But  that  was  obviously  impossible  in  Rome 
itself.  The  only  inspiring  motive — in  addition  to  Stoicism 
which  could  never  be  a  popular  creed — had  been,  for  the  last 
two  or  three  centuries,  patriotism,  the  worship  of  the  sacred 
city  and  her  glorious  destinies.  But  even  that  had  been 
shattered  by  the  civil  wars.  Augustus  now  set  himself 
deliberately  to  the  task  of  creating  a  new  Rome  and  a  new 
Roman  culture.  He  himself,  like  most  of  the  nobles  of  his 
day,  had  received  a  Greek  education.  It  was  what  we  should 
call  a  good  classical  education  in  philosophy,  literature,  and 
rhetoric.  Besides  that  he  had  been  initiated  into  the 
Eleusinian  mysteries  at  Athens,  and  they  were  probably  the 
most  powerful  source  of  inspiration  in  the  Mediterranean  world, 
for  even  eclectics  like  Cicero  admitted  that  they  carried  with 
them  a  hope  of  immortality.  Augustus  was  himself  deeply 
imbued  with  Greek  culture  and  like  most  Roman  nobles  had 
dabbled  in  literature.  Thus  it  is  not  surprising  that  the  type 
of  civilisation  which  he  fostered  in  the  new  Rome  was  quite  as 
much  Greek  as  Italian.  The  age  of  Augustus  was  in  fact  the 
culmination  of  Graeco-Roman  culture  alike  in  arts  and  letters 
because  the  fusion  between  the  two  races  was  now  complete. 

Elsewhere  I  have  ventured  to  rebel  against  the  current 
practice  in  history  of  subordinating  the  arts  to  politics  and 
declaring  that  artistic  production  depends  upon  political  facts. 
It  is  not  so.  Literary  and  artistic  results  are  due  to  literary 
and  artistic  causes.  The  Roman  literary  language  had  only 
just  attained  perfection.  Cicero  had  perfected  it  for  prose,  and 
it  only  remained  for  poetry  to  produce  a  Vergil.  Everybody 



at  Rome  from  Augustus  downwards  was  busily  writing  hexa- 
meters in  his  spare  time,  and  the  recitals  which  were  given  at 
every  dinner-party  formed  one  of  the  social  inflictions  of  the 
day.  Just  as  Julius  Caesar  and  Cicero  had  thrown  off  their 
epics,  so  the  great  men  of  the  succeeding  age  were  poets — 
Augustus,  Pollio,  Maecenas,  Gallus,  and  all  of  them  except 
Agrippa.  But  alongside  of  these  distinguished  amateurs,  pro- 
fessional literary  men  of  humble  birth  were  now  coming  to  the 
front.  Vergil  and  Horace  are  not  originally  the  products  of 
the  Augustan  age,  for  they  were  both  established  poets  before 
it  began.  But  the  conditions  of  art  at  Rome  were  such  that  a 
professional  man  of  letters  depended  very  closely  upon  a  patron. 
That  was  the  tradition  handed  on  from  the  days  of  Plautus, 
when  the  writers  had  nearly  always  been  foreign  slaves  or 
clients.  Cicero,  Caesar,  Lucretius,  and  Catullus  had  not  been 
of  the  client  class.  They  had  flourished  in  that  brief  interval 
when  it  still  seemed  possible  for  Rome  to  develop  a  genuine 
free  literature  of  her  own.  But  that  possibility  had  been  killed 
like  so  many  other  hopes  by  the  civil  wars,  and  now  the 
choice  lay  mainly  between  distinguished  scribblers  or  obsequious 
literary  craftsmen.  Thus  we  get  a  second  courtly  period  of 
literature  like  that  of  the  Ptolemies  at  Alexandria,  like  that  of 
Louis  XIV.  or  of  our  own  Stuart  age  when  poets  wrote  to 
please  individual  patrons.  The  patron,  if  he  be  a  man  of  taste, 
generally  demands  a  very  high  degree  of  finish,  and  thus  it  is 
the  courtly  ages  which  produce  the  finished  craftsmanship.  It 
may  be  remarked  that  the  ages  of  private  patronage  have  given 
the  world  much  of  its  greatest  literature. 

In  the  age  of  Augustus  there  was  no  censorship  of  letters 
such  as  generally  prevailed  under  the  stricter  emperors  of  later 
days.  Livy  was  permitted  to  publish  his  great  history  without 
curtailment  of  its  strong  republican  tendency.  When  libels 
and  pasquinades  appeared  against  Caesar  he  was  content  to  con- 
tradict them  in  a  proclamation.  Nevertheless  he  made  his 
influence  weightily  felt  in  the  world  of  letters.  He  gave  more 
than  ;£  1 0,000  to  Varius  for  a  tragedy  which  posterity  has  not 

•"-•..••  "... 




thought  worth  while  to  preserve.  He  was  himself  a  kindly  and 
patient  listener  at  the  recitation  of  poems  and  history,  speeches 
and  dialogues,  which  formed  the  usual  mode  of  first  publication 
in  those  days.  He  only  insisted  that  his  own  deeds  should  not 
form  the  subject  of  trivial  composition  by  inferior  authors. 
Horace  appears  at  first  to  have  been  warned  off  from  treatment 
of  imperial  politics.  Vergil  too  in  his  early  days  received  a 
hint  not  to  sing  of  wars  and  kings.  But  later  on  both  these 
writers  were  explicitly  enlisted  in  the  service  of  the  state.  In 
this  part  of  the  work  Maecenas  was  the  emperor's  chief  agent. 
Maecenas,  whose  name  has  come  to  symbolise  literary  patronage, 
was  a  wealthy  noble  of  an  old  Etruscan  family  who  was  con- 
tent, like  Cicero's  friend  Atticus,  to  pull  the  wires  of  state 
largely  by  keeping  generous  hospitality  and  knowing  all  the 
important  characters  of  his  day.  Luxurious  and  effeminate  in 
his  tastes,  he  gathered  a  group  of  talented  authors  round  his 
table,  and  very  distinctly  suggested  to  them  the  lines  upon  which 
he  desired  them  to  work.  Vergil,  Varius,  Horace,  and  Propertius 
were  members  of  his  salon.  Another  noble  of  high  lineage, 
M.  Valerius  Messalla,  maintained  a  rival  coterie  whose  most 
prominent  member  was  the  elegiac  poet  Tibullus.  Vergil,  a 
half-Italian  native  of  Mantua,  who  was  not  even  a  citizen  by 
birth,  had  sprung  into  fame  with  his  Bucolics,  a  series  of 
pastoral  idylls  in  the  style  of  Theocritus.  But  though  he  was 
a  provincial  by  birth,  though  he  writes  of  shepherds  and  sings 
pathetically  of  his  ancestral  farm,  nothing  is  more  untrue  than 
to  regard  him  as  a  son  of  the  soil,  or  an  inspired  ploughboy 
after  the  manner  of  Robert  Burns.  On  the  contrary  he  had 
received  an  elaborate  education  in  the  style  of  the  day  under 
Greek  masters  at  Cremona,  Milan,  and  Rome.  He  was  steeped 
in  Greek  philosophy  and  letters.  His  shepherds  are  not  the 
unsophisticated  rustics  of  the  Mantuan  plain.  They  are  shep- 
herds "a  la  Watteau,"  borrowed  from  the  pages  of  Theocritus, 
and  though  many  a  brilliant  epithet  displays  the  Italian's  loving 
observation  of  nature,  the  background  of  the  work  is  artificial 
and  literary  rather  than  rustic  or  natural.  His  shepherds,  like 



Sidney's,  talk  politics  under  a  transparent  disguise,  which  is 
often  extremely  incongruous.  They  are  often  engaged  in 
praising  Gallus  or  Varus  or  Pollio,  the  young  poet's  patrons. 
It  was  the  success  of  the  Bucolics  which'  led  Maecenas  to  choose 
Vergil  for  carrying  out  an  important  literary  project.  A  poet 
was  required  to  sing  the  praises  of  country  life  in  such  a  manner 
as  to  encourage  the  movement  "back  to  the  land,"  which 
Augustus  was  trying  to  foster.  In  his  Georgics  Vergil  frankly 
admits  that  he  is  fulfilling  the  "  hard  commands  "  of  Maecenas. 
The  Georgics  are  a  treatise  on  husbandry,  but  here  again  it  is 
not  first-hand  work.  We  are  informed  that  Vergil's  poetry  had 
regained  him  his  paternal  farm  at  Mantua.  But  the  Georgics 
were  not  written  on  the  farm.  They  were  diligently  composed  in 
a  library  at  Naples.  They  arose  from  the  study  of  Aratus  and 
Hesiod,  not  from  memory  of  Italian  life,  and  even  in  those 
gorgeous  passages  where  Vergil  is  praising  a  country  life,  it  is 
not  of  the  Italian  farm  that  he  is  thinking  but  of  literary 
hills  and  dells  in  Greece.  I  think  it  is  clear  that  the  poet  took 
little  pleasure  in  his  task.  He  very  gladly  digresses  from  the 
description  of  soils  and  mattocks  to  tell  us  a  charming  piece 
of  Greek  mythology  or  to  introduce  a  literary  reference. 
Octavian  had  been  a  "  powerful  god  "  already  in  the  Eclogues 
before  he  became  Augustus.  Now  the  only  question  is  which 
of  the  stars  shall  receive  him  after  death.  "Already  the 
blazing  Scorpion  contracts  his  arms  and  leaves  thee  more  than 
a  fair  share  of  heaven."  Vergil  pauses  to  depict  the  triumph  of 
Augustus — Nile  flowing  with  blood,  Asia  tamed,  the  Niphates 
driven  back,  the  Parthian  conquered.  No  literary  catchword 
was  ever  more  absurd  than  the  phrase  "rustic  of  genius" 
applied  to  Vergil.  As  soon  as  he  had  the  means,  he  gladly 
turned  his  back  upon  his  ancestral  farm  to  become  a  student 
and  a  courtier.  Nevertheless  Maecenas  was  magnificently 
served.  Vergil  had  already  forged  a  weapon  of  matchless 
music  and  eloquence  in  his  surging  hexameters,  and  he  used  it 
to  depict  the  honest  joys  of  rustic  toil,  the  laborious  tranquillity 
of  the  farm,  the  beauty  and  interest  of  nature.  He  was 










instantly  recognised  by  Augustus  as  the  destined  laureate  of 
the  new  Rome. 

The  j*Eneid  was  solemnly  devoted  to  the  altar  of  Rome  and 
Augustus.  Homer  was  the  Greek  model  here,  as  Theocritus 
had  been  for  the  Bucolics  and  Hesiod  for  the  Georgics.  The 
origin  of  Rome  was  to  be  linked  on  to  the  Trojan  story  as  had 
already  been  done  by  the  inventive  Greeks.  /Eneas  had  fled 
from  Troy  to  Italy,  and  had  left  his  son  Julus  (the  eponymous 
hero  of  the  Julian  house)  to  found  an  heroic  kingdom  in  Italy 
long  before  the  genuine  Roman  heroes.  Thus  the  humble 
native  story  of  Romulus  was  superseded.  Piety  was  to  be  the 
great  virtue  honoured  by  this  poem,  for  piety  towards  the 
memory  of  Julius  Ceesar  was  the  principal  title  upon  which 
Augustus  rested  his  claim  to  honour.  There  were  other 
analogies,  perhaps.  Dido  most  probably  suggested  Cleopatra 
to  the  Roman  reader.  But  it  is.^to  the  praise  of  Rome,  to  the 
glorification  of  that  sense  of  filial  duty  which  the  Romans  called 
"  piety "  that  the  great  epic  is  mainly  devoted.  Here  again, 
though  the  eloquence  is  so  splendid  and  the  versification  so 
majestic,  the  s&neid  like  its  predecessors  is  a  work  of  the 
study  quite  clearly  written  to  order.  The  plot  is  carelessly  con- 
structed. /Eneas  himself,  with  all  his  piety,  never  for  a  moment 
lives.  The  religious  motives  which  led  to  his  desertion  of 
Dido  barely  satisfy  us.  /Eneas  makes  the  speeches,  and  the 
gods  continually  intervene  when  danger  threatens  him.  Our 
sympathies  are  generally  with  the  enemy,  with  Turnus  or  Camilla. 
/Eneas  is  as  chilly  and  statuesque  as  Augustus  himself. 

It  is  in  the  famous  Sixth  Book,  which  tells  of  the  descent 
to  Hades,  that  the  praise  of  Rome  is  most  elegant  and  most 
explicit.  Here  we  are  shown  the  heroes  of  Roman  history  side 
by  side  with  the  heroes  of  the  Greeks,  and  here  the  young 
Marcellus,  lately  dead,  is  introduced  in  those  immortal  and 
touching  lines  which  caused  Octavia  his  mother  to  swoon  when 
the  poet  recited  them.  Here  too  the  poet  pronounces  in  very 
significant  language  the  Roman  idea  of  the  destiny  of  his 



excudent  alii  spirantia  mollius  sera, 
credo  equidem,  uiuos  ducent  de  marmore  uoltus, 
orabunt  causas  melius,  caelique  meatus 
describent  radio,  et  surgentia  sidera  dicent : 
tu  regere  imperio  populos,  Romane,  memento  ; 
hae  tibi  erunt  artes,  pacisque  imponere  morem, 
parcere  subiectis,  et  debellare  superbos. 

"  Others  shall  mould,  I  doubt  not,  the  breathing  bronze  more 
delicately  and  draw  the  living  features  out  of  marble,  others 
shall  plead  causes  more  eloquently,  map  out  the  wanderings  of 
the  sky  with  the  rod,  and  tell  the  risings  of  the  stars.  Thou, 
Roman,  forget  not  to  govern  the  nations  under  thy  sway. 
These  shall  be  thy  arts :  to  impose  the  rule  of  peace,  to  spare 
the  subject,  and  defeat  the  proud."  In  these  lines  we  hear  the 
proud  Philistinism  of  an  imperial  people.  This  is  the  genuine 
Roman  (dare  I  add  "  British  "  ?)  attitude  towards  the  arts  and 
sciences.  They  are  for  others  to  provide,  for  Greeks  and 
Egyptians.  Even  oratory,  the  highest  achievement  of  the 
Roman  genius  in  literature,  is  thus  scornfully  thrown  to  the 
foreigner.  The  Romans  knew  that  they  could  buy  or  seize 
better  statues  than  they  could  carve :  their  task  was  to  conquer 
and  govern — not  an  ignoble  art. 

The  sEneid  is  explicitly  a  national  laureate  poem.  The 
poet  seeks  to  enshrine  all  Roman  life  in  his  pages,  to  epitomise 
Roman  history  and  to  introduce  allusions  to  characteristic 
pieces  of  myth  and  ritual.  He  inserts  whole  lines  of  Ennius 
or  Lucretius  when  they  please  him.  They  are  superseded  and 
replaced.  Just  like  Dryden,  he  feels  that  he  is  the  heir  of  the 
ages.  The  extraordinary  popularity  which  Vergil  attained 
even  in  his  own  lifetime  grew  in  the  course  of  a  few  centuries 
almost  into  a  cult.  His  tomb  became  an  object  of  pilgrimage ; 
in  early  Christian  times  he  became  a  prophet  and  in  the  Middle 
Ages  a  wizard.  The  gentleness  and  purity  of  his  personal  life 
played  their  part  in  the  creation  of  this  strange  Vergilian  legend. 

Horace  had  less  of  the  courtier's  suppleness  and  required 
winning  to  the  imperial  cause.  It  took  two  efforts  of  Maecenas 



to  secure  him  and  we  have  letters  preserved  in  which  Augustus 
very  good-humouredly  confesses  his  disappointment  that  Horace 
has  refused  a  secretaryship.     Horace  was  the  son  of  a  freedman, 
as  he  was  not  in  the  least  ashamed  to  confess.     But  his  father 
had  managed  to  secure  for  Quintus  the  education  of  a  gentle- 
man under  Greek  teachers  in  Rome,  himself  attending  the  boy 
to  school  in  place  of  the  rascally  pedagogue  slaves  who  usually 
undertook  that  office.     Horace  had  further  enjoyed  a  University 
education  at  Athens,  where  he  had  fallen  under  the  spell  of 
Brutus,  for  whom  he  fought  at  Philippi.     He  was,  and  remained, 
a  Republican  by  instinct,  but  Maecenas  won  him  over  to  the 
cause  of  Caesarism.     He  made  his  reputation  with  the  Satires, 
a  species  of  composition  which  may  be  termed  truly  Italian. 
The  satire  is  a  conversational  medley  written  in  the  language 
of   prose  with  the  rhythm   of   poetry.     In   this   Horace  was 
imitating  the  old  Roman  master  Lucilius.     It  is  much  to  the 
credit  of   his  critical  discernment  that  Maecenas  was  able  to 
descry  the  brilliant  abilities  of  Horace  in  this  very  uninspiring 
medium.     For   though   his   Satires  were  sometimes   bitterly 
satirical  in  the  modern  sense  of  the  word,  Horace's  chief  literary 
asset  was  the  charm  of  a  sunny,  genial  character.     He  had  in 
addition  a  gift  for  composition  and  an  industry  which  brought 
him  almost  but  not  quite  to  the  level  of  original  genius.     It 
seems  to  have  been  Maecenas  who  set  him  to  the  writing  of 
lyrical  odes.     Biting  satires  might  have  been  the  most  effective 
literary  weapon  in  republican  days,  but  the  glorification  of  the 
new  regime  required  something  of  a  loftier  strain.     Vergil  was 
engaged  upon  its  epic,    Horace  was   instructed   to  write   its 
occasional  verse.     The  Greek  lyrists  of  the  older  period  had 
as  yet  remained  unimitated  in   Latin.     Accordingly  just  as 
when   the  young  Vergil   had  wanted  to  sing  of   kings   and 
battles  "  Apollo  had  plucked  his  ear  and  admonished  him  that 
a  shepherd  should  feed  fatjsheep  and  sing  a  slender  song,"  so 
Horace  was  deliberately  set  down  to  the  task  of  celebrating  the 
new  Rome  in  the  style  of  Sappho  and  Alcaeus  and  Anacreon. 
That  he  accomplished  his  task  so  superbly  is  a  proof  of  his 



energy  and  versatility.     He  himself,  a  gentle  valetudinarian 
whose  idea  of  a  banquet  was  a  mess  of  cabbage  and  pot-herbs, 
had  to  strike  the  lyre  of  revelry  and  sing  of  wine  and  love. 
He  sang  without  conviction,  without  a  spark  of  Sapphic  fire  or 
a  note  of  natural  music,  but  the  noble  rhetoric  of  the  Roman 
schools  in  the  golden  age  supported  him.     He  laboured  for  the 
right  word  never  in  vain.     No  writer  has  ever  equalled  his 
matchless   gift   for   making   truisms    sound   true.     No   other 
writer  has  been  able  to  assert  that  "  it  is  sweet  and  comely  to 
die  for  the  fatherland,"  or  that  "  life  is  short "  with  an  equal 
air  of  genuine  wisdom.     Latin  with  its  terse  precision  is  the 
ideal  language  for  the  expression  of  platitudes.     His  patriotic 
eloquence  is  Roman  rhetoric  of  the  best  kind.     But  perhaps 
his  real  strength  lies  in  drama.     It  is  strange  that  Latin  of  the 
classical  period  failed  at  producing  a  native  drama  so  completely 
as  it  did.     Perhaps  it  was  because  the  writers  of  that  age  were 
so  completely  under  Greek  influences  that  their  natural  Italian 
genius  for  the  theatre  was  stifled  under  the  load  of  a  classical 
convention.    Certainly  Horace  had  the  gift,  and  in  such  passages 
as  the  dramatic  duologue  (Ode  ix.  of  Book  III.)  Donee gratiis 
eram  tibi,  or  the  Epode  of  the  witches  (v.)  At,  o  deortim,  or  the 
still  more  famous  Epistle  about  the  bore,  he  exhibits  himself, 
like  Browning,  as  a  dramatist  gone  astray.     Regarded  from 
the  purely  lyrical  point  of  view,  the  Century  Hymn,  which  he 
wrote  to  order  as  Rome's  laureate  in  succession  to  Vergil,  is 
perhaps   his   greatest   achievement.     The   Secular    Games  of 
17  B.C.  were  intended  to  bring  visibly  before  men's  eyes  the 
glories  of  the  new  monarchy  and  incidentally  to  carry  in  their 
train  the  salutary  but  unpopular  measures  of  the  Julian  moral 
reform.     So  the  choir  of  noble  youths  and  maidens  were  taught 
to  sing  in  their  prayer  to  Diana: 

diua,  producas  subolem  patrumque 
prosperes  decreta  super  iugandis 
feminis  prolisque  nouae  feraci 
lege  marita,* 

*  Carmen  Seculare,  17-20. 



where  the  goddess  is  besought  to  increase  the  population  of 
Rome  and  favour  the  senate's  decrees  about  marriage.  The 
fourth  book  of  the  Odes  was  added  after  a  long  interval  at  the 
direct  request  of  Augustus.  It  is  intended  to  bring  the 
achievements  of  Augustus  and  his  family,  particularly  the 
triumphs  of  Tiberius  and  Drusus,  into  favourable  comparison 
with  the  heroic  stories  of  republican  history.  It  is  most 
melancholy  to  observe  that  Maecenas,  to  whom  Horace  was 
genuinely  attached  and  whose  name  constantly  occurs  in  his 
earlier  writings,  here  drops  out  of  the  poet's  verse  because  he 
had  fallen  out  of  Caesar's  favour. 

Although  Horace  is  in  his  Odes  as  classical  and  conventional 
as  all  the  Roman  writers  of  his  age,  his  Satires  and  Epistles 
are  more  intimate  than  any  other  Latin  work  of  the  great  period. 
In  them  we  get  real  glimpses  of  life  at  Rome,  or  on  a  country 
estate.  We  cannot  fail  to  be  struck  with  its  idleness  and 
emptiness.  In  the  city  he  saunters  from  the  forum  to  the  baths, 
from  the  baths  to  the  dinner-table  with  time  and  boredom  for 
his  only  enemies.  In  the  country  he  sometimes,  it  is  true,  toys 
with  husbandry,  or  shows  a  faint  interest  in  landscape-gardening 
or  loiters  among  his  books,  but  the  life  is  to  the  last  degree 
super-civilised  and  unreal.  The  very  ideas  of  hope  and 
progress  were  alien  to  the  ancient  world.  The  eyes  of  the 
Romans  were  always  turned  behind  them,  so  that  they  could 
not  see  the  greatness  of  the  vista  that  was  now  opening  for 
them  in  front. 

The  elegists — such  as  the  graceful  melancholy  Tibullus,  or 
Propertius,  the  pedant  who  often  stumbled  into  poetry,  and  a 
host  of  others  who  are  mere  names  to  us — would  hardly,  but 
for  their  prominence  in  the  schoolroom,  deserve  serious 
attention.  Callimachus  the  Alexandrian  was  their  model, 
himself  scarcely  a  first-rate  poet.  The  whole  idea  of  writing 
love  poetry  in  an  absolutely  regular  distich  of  hexameter  and 
pentameter  was  inartistic  and  unreal.  Their  fluent  prolixity 
makes  them  insufferably  tedious  out  of  school.  It  is  difficult 
to  sustain  interest  in  the  relations  between  the  bards  and  the 



married  ladies  with  Greek  pseudonyms  to  whom  their  verses 
are  addressed.  From  our  point  of  view  the  chief  interest  in 
these  writers  lies  in  the  fact  that  nearly  all  of  them  were  at  one 
time  or  another  invited  to  praise  the  new  regime.  Tibullus, 
indeed,  who  enjoyed  a  modest  competence  of  his  own,  limits 
his  praises  to  his  immediate  patron  Messalla,  and  frankly 
admits  that  war  and  battles  disgust  him.  But  Propertius 
makes  an  attempt  to  carry  out  his  commission,  and  describes 
the  battle  of  Actium  fifteen  years  after  its  occurrence.  But 
though  he  invites  Bacchus  to  assist  his  Muse,  it  is  wretched 
stuff  and  the  poet  himself  turns  from  it  with  disgust.  The 
famous  elegy  upon  Cornelia,  daughter  of  the  injured  Scribonia, 
beginning  desine,  Paulle,  meum  lacrimis  urgere  sepulcrum,  is 
however  sufficient  proof  that  it  was  only  the  want  of  a  really 
inspiring  theme  and  a  suitable  medium  which  prevented 
Propertius  from  being  in  the  front  rank  of  the  world's  poets. 

Ovid,  "  this  incorrigibly  immoral  but  inexpressibly  graceful 
poet"  as  Mr.  Cruttwell  called  him,  is  a  far  more  interesting 
personality.  I  think  he  may  fairly  be  called  the  wickedest 
writer  on  the  world's  bookshelves.  Others  may  be  wicked 
through  ignorance,  or  by  accident,  or  out  of  high  animal  spirits, 
but  Ovid  is  immoral  on  principle,  a  conscientious  and  industrious 
perverter.  His  greatest  work,  "The  Art  of  Loving,"  is  quite 
frankly  a  guide  to  adultery,  the  precepts  it  contains  being 
perfectly  practical  and  evidently  based  on  expert  knowledge. 
In  his  Amores,  Metamorphoses,  and  Fasti  he  took  for  his  field 
the  domain  of  religion  and  exhibited  celestial  sin  in  the  most 
captivating  light.  We  have  already  seen  how  the  loves  of 
the  gods  came  to  take  their  place  in  the  Olympian  mythology, 
and  how  thinking  pagans  like  Plato  regarded  them.  To  such 
men  they  were  already  relics  of  barbarism,  but  Ovid  draws 
them  out  into  the  light  again,  gilds  them  with  his  wit  and 
makes  them  altogether  charming  for  the  Roman  drawing-room. 
The  strange  and  uncouth  old  ritual  of  Italian  nature-worship 
is  piquantly  dressed  out  for  the  up-to-date  blasphemer.  No- 
body who  had  read  Ovid  could  possibly  worship  Jupiter  any 

p.  Mo  A 










•-«|s  . 




more.  It  was  all  done  with  consummate  art  and  unblushing 
impudence.  When  the  sad  Niobe  is  bereft  of  her  seven  fair 
children  by  the  arrows  of  the  jealous  gods,  our  poet,  ingeniously 
parodying  Vergil,  observes : 

heu  quantum  haec  Niobe,  Niobe  distabat  ab  ilia. 

In  telling  the  dreadful  tragedy  whereby  the  Greeks  had  ex- 
plained the  sorrow  of  Philomela,  the  nightingale,  our  poet 
cheerfully  describes  the  slaughter  of  the  children,  adding : 

pars  inde  cauis  exultat  aenis, 
pars  ueribus  stridunt. 

And  so  he  moves  from  one  lovely  myth  to  another,  preserving 
them  indeed  for  our  archaeologists,  but  delicately  with  the 
breath  of  his  profanity  defiling  them  for  ever. 

Now  Ovid  is  far  more  typical  of  the  civilisation  of  his  day 
than  either  Vergil  or  Horace.  For  Ovid  was  a  Roman  noble, 
rich  and  gifted,  who  in  earlier  days  would  have  passed 
creditably  from  one  high  office  to  another  in  the  state,  humorously 
plundering  a  province  or  two,  gracefully  collecting  objects  of 
art  in  Asia  and  possibly  losing  a  battle  or  two  through 
negligence.  He  actually  started  on  a  public  career  as  a 
brilliant  barrister,  and  enjoyed  the  ancient  office  of  decemvir 
stlitibus  iudicandis,  something  like  our  Masters  in  Chancery. 
But  the  Roman  drawing-rooms  soon  swallowed  him  up  in  their 
silken  entanglements,  and  he  spent  the  greater  part  of  his  life 
whispering  his  poisonous  little  pentameters  to  ladies  like  Julia. 
Of  course  a  single  poet  with  Ovid's  sinister  gifts  was  doing 
far  more  to  corrupt  Rome  than  all  the  Julian  legislation  could 
do  to  reform  it,  and  we  may  fairly  conclude  that  Ovid  with  his 
attacks  on  the  traditional  Roman  morality  and  religion,  together 
with  effeminate  bards  like  Tibullus  who  sang  of  the  horrors  of 
war,  were  more  than  undoing  the  patriotic  work  of  Vergil  and 
Horace.  The  plain  fact  is  that  though  you  may  hire  writers 
you  cannot  purchase  the  spirit  of  a  people,  and  so  Augustus 
and  Maecenas  found,  to  the  great  misfortune  of  the  Roman 
Empire.  They  failed  in  their  attempt  to  capture  literature. 

Q  241 


Oppression  failed  even  more  signally  than  corruption.  Hence- 
forth all  the  literary  talent  of  Rome  is  on  the  opposition  side. 
Lucan  extols  republicanism,  Tacitus  assails  the  emperors  with 
satirical  history,  Petronius  pillories  Nero  with  satirical  romance, 
Juvenal  with  satirical  poetry.  Only  the  younger  Pliny  is  loyal, 
and  to  be  praised  by  Pliny  is  a  very  doubtful  recommendation. 
Roman  literature  had  imbibed  the  republican  ideals  from  its 
Greek  foster-mother.  The  schoolmasters  of  Rome  continued 
to  teach  their  pupils  to  declaim  against  tyrants. 

But  Ovid  himself  was  not  permitted  to  flourish  in  his 
wickedness.  A  sudden  decree  from  Caesar  Augustus  fell  upon 
him  like  a  thunderbolt.  He  was  banished  for  ever  and  bidden 
to  betake  himself  to  Tomi,  on  the  Black  Sea,  near  the  mouth 
of  the  Danube.  From  that  inhospitable  region  he  continued  to 
pour  forth  elegiacs,  Epistles  and  Tristia,  wherein  he  protests 
his  innocence,  recants  anything  and  everything  he  has  ever 
said,  and  bewails  the  horrors  of  arctic  existence  among  the 
barbarians.  The  actual  cause  of  his  banishment  is  one  of  the 
most  piquant  mysteries  in  literary  history.  He  has  seen  some- 
thing which  he  ought  not  to  have  seen :  his  eyes  have  destroyed 
him.  It  is  fairly  clear  that  his  banishment  synchronised  with 
the  banishment  of  the  younger  Julia,  and  we  may  well  believe 
that  the  old  emperor,  shocked  and  horrified  by  this  second 
scandal  in  his  own  house,  attributed  it  to  the  corrupting  in- 
fluence of  that  singer  of  gilded  sins.  The  banishment  was 
certainly  well  merited  and  the  only  pity  is  that  it  came  too  late 
to  effect  its  purpose.  The  unmanly  tone  of  the  Tristia,  the 
effeminate  appeals  to  everybody  in  Rome  including  a  hitherto 
forgotten  wife,  reveal  Ovid  in  his  true  character.  It  is  a  little 
strange  that  generations  of  British  youth  have  been  trained  not 
only  in  the  study  but  even  in  the  imitation  of  this  author. 

When  we  term  the  Golden  Age  of  Roman  literature 
"Augustan"  we  ought  to  remember  that  it  began  long  before 
Augustus  and  ended  before  his  death.  Thus  with  all  his 
patronage  he  may  more  justly  be  called  the  finisher  than  the 
author  of  it.  Of  all  the  great  writers,  only  Ovid,  to  whom  the 


simple  life  and  bracing  air  of  the  Sarmatians  afforded  an  unusual 
longevity,  outlived  Augustus.  Summing  up  the  characteristics 
of  the  literature  of  this  day,  we  may  say  that  courtliness  and 
artificiality  were  its  most  prominent  characteristics.  The 
freshness  of  Catullus,  the  stern  conviction  of  Lucretius,  the  fire 
of  Cicero  were  extinct.  Nearly  all  that  was  native  in  Roman 
letters  had  perished ;  only  the  crispness  of  epigram,  the  bite  of 
satire  and  the  dignified  music  of  the  language  itself  remained 
as  the  Italian  heritage.  Greece  had  quite  definitely  triumphed 
over  Rome.  Technical  excellence  continued,  for  this  has 
always  been  the  mark  of  "  Augustan  "  periods.  But  the  well- 
meant  efforts  of  the  state  to  capture  literature  for  its  own 
service  had  failed.  The  horrors  of  the  civil  war  outweighed 
the  glories  of  the  new  regime  and  with  all  his  benevolence  the 
emperor  could  never  outlive  the  memory  of  his  proscriptions. 
Literature  never  forgave  the  murder  of  Cicero  though  the 
author  of  Thyestes  might  be  loaded  with  treasure.  Indeed  the 
widespread  misery  of  those  terrible  days  in  40  B.C.  came  home 
personally  to  most  of  our  middle-class  writers.  Vergil,  Horace, 
Tibullus,  and  Propertius  had  each  and  all  received  ineffaceable 
memories  in  the  loss  of  their  patrimonies.  It  was  little  wonder 
that  even  though  they  sang  of  wars  and  victories  when 
"Cynthius  plucked  their  ear"  their  natural  instinct  was  to 
compare  Mars  and  Venus  very  much  to  the  disadvantage  of 
the  former. 

When  we  turn  to  consider  the  Art  of  the  period,  we  must 
not  forget  to  carry  with  us  the  light  that  we  have  obtained 
from  the  study  of  its  literature.  For  Augustus  and  his  assist- 
ants were  attempting  precisely  similar  ends  in  both  regions. 
With  temples,  baths,  circuses,  amphitheatres,  colonnades, 
libraries,  and  statues  the  new  regime  was  to  flourish  its  magni- 
ficence in  the  eyes  of  the  world  and,  above  all,  to  dazzle  the 
citizens  of  Rome,  fill  up  the  emptiness  of  their  lives,  and  make 
them  forget,  if  it  were  possible,  the  magnitude  of  their  loss. 
Money  was  lavished  upon  this  object  by  the  emperor  and  all  his 
friends,  and  the  building  activity  which  transformed  Rome 



from  a  city  of  brick  into  a  city  of  marble  must  have  given 
work  and  pay  to  vast  numbers  of  the  poor.  But  the  magnifi- 
cence has  all  perished,  as  all  magnificence  must,  and  it  is  left 
for  us  by  the  study  of  a  few  ruined  monuments,  a  few  statues 
and  busts,  an  altar  here,  a  cornice  there,  to  estimate  the  spirit 
of  Rome  in  conformity  with  its  literature. 

Roman  art  supplied  much  of  their  inspiration  to  the  artists 
of  the  Renaissance.     Michael  Angelo  and  Raphael  learnt  their 
art  by  copying  the  antiquities,  and  much  of  the  Renaissance 
architecture  was  direct  imitation  of  the  Augustan  age.     But 
with  the  birth  of  archaeology  as  a  science  in  the  nineteenth 
century,  scholars  became  accustomed  to  leap  straight  over  the 
Roman  era,  or  to  regard  it  merely  as  a  phase  of  the  Hellenistic 
decline.     From  that  view,  undoubtedly  erroneous  and  unjust, 
there  has  latterly  been  an  attempt  to  escape.     Wickhoff  and 
Riegl,   whose   foremost   interpreter   in   this   country  is   Mrs. 
Strong,  have  argued  that  Roman  art  has  an  existence  per  se, 
not  only  possessing  characteristic  excellences  of  its  own,  but  in 
many  points  transcending  the  limits  of  Greek  art.     To  such 
pioneers  we  owe  a  deep  debt  of  gratitude.  They  have  undoubtedly 
drawn  our  attention  to  real  merits  and  real  steps  of  progress  in 
the  art  of  the  Romans.     But  on  the  whole  they  have  failed, 
as  it  seems  to  an  onlooker,  to  prove  their  case.     Partly  it  is  in 
the  long  run  a  question  of  taste.     A  convinced  Romanist  like 
Mrs.  Strong  displays  for  our  admiration  many  works  of  art 
which   trained  eyes,  accustomed   to   Greek   and  modern  art, 
often  refuse  to  admire.     I  would  take  as  an  instance  the  well- 
known  "  Tellus  Group,"  a  slab  from  the  Augustan  Altar  of 
Peace,*  preserved  in  the  Uffizi  Gallery  at  Florence.     To  me  it 
seems  a  laborious  composition,  executed  with  care  and  skill, 
but  wholly  without   inspiration  or  imagination.     It  is  purely 
conventional    allegory.     How  would  the  designer  of  an  illu- 
minated ticket  for  an   agricultural    exhibition   depict    Mother 
Earth  ?     He  would  design  a  group  (would  he  not  ?)  with  a  tall 
and  richly  bosomed  lady  for  his  central  figure,  he  would  put 

*   Plate  36. 




two  naked  babes  upon  her  lap,  at  her  feet  would  be  a  cow 
and  a  sheep,  while  the  background  would  be  filled  with  flowers 
and  trees.  The  cornucopia  would  occupy  a  prominent  position. 
If  he  were  asked  to  fill  his  space  with  additional  figures, 
he  would  throw  in  Air  and  Water,  one  on  each  side,  designed 
on  the  same  plan.  There  would  be  little  motive  in  the  group, 
little  connection  between  the  figures.  The  designer's  aim 
would  be  that  the  spectator  in  a  casual  glance  might  observe 
the  fitness  of  it  all — Earth  sitting  between  Air  and  Water — 
note  it,  and  pass  on.  This  is  just  what  the  Roman  artist  has 
done.  He  has  earned  his  money.  He  has  carved  most  skil- 
fully and  diligently,  he  has  introduced  all  the  conventional 
emblems.  He  has  drawn  his  metaphor  from  stock.  I  cannot 
see  that  he  has  put  any  love  or  religion  or  indeed  faith  of  any 
kind  into  his  work.  The  only  thing  my  eye  cares  to  dwell 
upon  is  the  absurdity  of  Air,  who  is  riding  (backwards)  on  a 
wholly  inadequate  swan,  pretending  to  form  one  of  a  group  with 
the  immovably  seated  Earth.  This  then  is  the  first  point  of  criti- 
cism against  the  Romanists.  I  have  put  it  as  a  mere  subjective 
impression,  which  involves  simply  a  question  of  taste.  But  in 
reality  it  is  more.  They  are  failing  or  have  failed  to  make 
out  their  case,  chiefly  because  the  critical  world  of  art-lovers 
declines  to  follow  their  expressions  of  enthusiasm,  and  can 
give  reasons  for  its  refusal. 

Secondly,  we  have  a  right  to  ask  the  apostles  of  Roman  art 
what  they  mean  by  their  claims.  How  justly  may  we  call 
works  like  the  Altar  of  Peace,*  or  even  the  Column  of  Trajan, 
"Roman  Art"?  Was  any  of  it  executed  by  Roman  artists  ? 
We  have  just  read  the  true  Roman  attitude  towards  art  in 
Vergil's  scornful  excudent  alii.  We  may  be  sure  that  the 
Altar  of  Peace  was  executed  by  Greeks.  The  only  named 
sculptors  of  the  period  are  Greeks.  This  is  indeed  admitted, 
but  then  the  Roman  claim  takes  one  of  two  forms,  (i)  that 
work  executed  in  the  Roman  Empire  may  be  called  Roman, 
which  is  absurd,  or  (2)  that  apart  from  mere  execution  there 
*  Plate  35,  Fig.  z;  Plate  37 ;  and  Plate  41,  Fig.  z. 



are  in  the  work  certain  characteristic  innovations  which  are  due 
to  Roman  inspiration.  The  latter  claim  is  true,  to  some  extent, 
and  important. 

Just  as  Maecenas  "plucked  the  ear"   of   the   poets,  and 
instructed  them  when  to  sing  or  when  to  refrain  from  singing 
of  kings  and  battles,  so  the  patron  of  art  gave  instructions  to 
the  Greek  artists.     It  is  clear  enough  what  instructions  he  gave. 
Like  Cromwell  he  cried  "Paint  me  as  I  am,  warts  and  all. 
Leave  your  idealism,  your  perfect  profiles,  your  serene  gods  in 
the  tranquillity  of  Olympus,  and  depict  men  with  the  living 
emotions  displayed  in  frown  and  wrinkle."     That  was  excellent 
advice,  no  doubt,  but  he  seems  to  have   gone   further.     He 
seems,  like  the  good  Dr.  Primrose,  to  have  demanded  value 
for  his  money  by  insisting  upon  so  many  portraits  to  the  square 
yard  of  surface  to  be  decorated.     Is  not  this  the  explanation 
of  the  crowded  figures  in  the  new  style  of  relief  work,  as  exhi- 
bited at  Rome  from  the  Altar  of  Peace  to   the   Column   of 
Trajan?     In  the  friezes  of  the  Mausoleum,  the  fourth-century 
Greek  sculptors  had  discovered  the  advantage  of  free  spacing 
so  that  each  figure  has  a  value  of  its  own.     The  florid  taste  of 
the  millionaire  Attalids  of  Pergamum  had  made  a  reactionary 
movement  in  the  direction  of   crowded   and   tangled   forms. 
Now  these  Roman  friezes  carry  the  demand  a  stage  further.     In 
these  processions   we   have   a   compact   mass   of  faces,  each 
admirably  and  no  doubt  faithfully  portrayed,  but  ruining  by 
their  very  numbers  the  artistic  success  of   the  whole.     The 
spectator   is   not   to   admire   a   composition.     As   in   Frith's 
"Derby  Day"  he  is  to  pick  out  a  face  here  and  there  and  cry 
"That  is  Agrippa:  that  is  Messalla  :  that  is  Germanicus."   In 
its  essence  such  a  demand  is  not  the  mark  of  a  people  with  any 
sense  of  art.     On  the  contrary  it  is  the  measure  of  their  crudity 
and    Philistinism.      Nevertheless    this   new   demand   enabled 
the  versatile  Greek  genius  to  win  for  itself  fresh  triumphs, 
especially  in  realistic  portraiture  and  narrative  relief-work. 

Part  of  the  claim  which  Wickhoff  and  his  followers  make 
for  the  originality  of  Roman  art  is  based  upon  the  belief  that 

t.  A 


the  limitations  of  Greek  art  are  not  self-imposed ;  for  example, 
that  the  Greeks  did  not  know  how  to  express  emotion  in  the 
plastic  arts,  that  they  could  not  make  realistic  portraits,  that 
through  ignorance  they  never  perceived  the  beauty  of  a  stark 
corpse,  that  Pheidias  lacked  the  intelligence  to  find  a  dramatic 
centre  for  the  Parthenon  frieze,  and  so  forth.  Such  assumptions 
as  these  are  easily  disproved.  Greeks  were  capable  of  realism 
(witness  the  Ludovisi  reliefs  *)  but  they  preferred  to  idealise. 
In  portraying  giants,  barbarians,  or  slaves  they  could  express 
transient  emotions,  but  for  Greeks  and  gods  in  statuary  they 
deliberately  preferred  serenity.  The  Greeks  sought  to  conceal 
their  art  rather  than  to  display  it,  as  we  have  learnt  from  the 
discovery  of  the  subtle  secrets  of  their  architecture,  and  it  is 
rash  to  assert  of  any  principle  of  craftsmanship  that  the  Greeks 
did  not  know  it.  Many  of  the  claims  of  Rome  to  originality 
may  be  refuted  by  this  consideration. 

What  I  believe  to  be  the  true  statement  of  the  case 
is  this :  Greek  art  did  not  come  to  an  end  with  the  death  of 
Praxiteles  or  the  Roman  conquest.  Its  central  impulse  passed 
over  from  the  impoverished  mainland  to  the  still  flourishing 
communities  of  the  East,  to  Antioch  on  the  Maeander  where 
the  Aphrodite  of  Melos  was  produced,  to  Rhodes  where  the 
Laocoon  was  carved,  to  Ephesus,  and  farther  east  still,  even 
into  Parthia  and  possibly  India.  It  was  by  no  means  stereo- 
typed but  still  producing  new  forms  to  meet  fresh  demands, 
as  for  sarcophagi  in  Sidon,  or  for  paintings  and  mosaics  in 
Egypt.  In  the  course  of  this  period  the  art  of  the  Greeks 
was  much  influenced  by  the  East.  The  Romans  at  first  were 
content  to  take  Greek  art  as  they  found  it.  In  the  days  of 
Mummius  they  were  merely  like  rich  transatlantic  collectors 
in  search  of  beautiful,  still  more  of  precious  and  unique,  com- 
modities. They  had  no  doubt  some  slaves  of  their  own  working 
in  Rome  at  the  arts  and  crafts.  Some  of  these  would  be  Greeks 
of  inferior  birth  and  capacity  reproducing  old  Greek  work  for 
the  Roman  market.  But  some  of  them  may  well  have  been 

*  See  "The  Glory  that  was  Greece,"  Plates  31  and  32. 



Italians,  some  Etruscans  preserving  the  old  artistic  traditions 
of  their  race.  This  "  collecting  "  era  lasted  down  to  the  time 
of  Augustus.  We  have  seen  it  as  late  as  Cicero  and  Atticus. 
There  was  little  demand  for  new  creations  in  those  days.  Few 
temples  were  being  built.  The  artists  were  still  scattered  about 
the  Levant.  There  was  little  to  attract  them  to  Rome. 

But  when  Augustus   decided   to  build   a   new  Rome   of 
marble,  founding  or  restoring  his  eighty  temples,  with  arches 
and  theatres  innumerable  all  over  the  Empire,  there  must  have 
been  a  great  influx  of  artists  from  Greece  and  Asia  Minor. 
Now  begins  an  art  to  which  we  may  fairly  apply  the  term 
Grseco-Roman   in   the  sense  that  it  was  the   work  of  Greek 
artists  under  oriental  influences  supplying  Roman  demands. 
The  new  demands  entailed  still  further  artistic  developments ; 
some  of  them,  but  not  all,  to  be  regarded  by  those  who  view  the 
history  of  art  as  a  whole,  as  improvements.     One  main  effect 
of  Roman  conditions  was  that  art  largely  ceased  its  service 
of  religion  and  became  devoted  to  secular  purposes.    Thus  the 
limitations  of  the  best  Greek  art,  self-imposed  as  they  were, 
now  broke  down.     The  effect  is  seen  especially  in  portraiture, 
where  the  Romans  had  a  tradition  of  realism  resulting  from 
the  use   of   the  death-mask  in  making  wax   images   of  the 
illustrious  deceased.    Hence  in  the  decoration  of  the  great  Altar 
of  Peace  at  Rome,  the  Greek  artists,  who  would  naturally  have 
produced  a  frieze  of  gods  or  idealised  worshippers,  were  asked 
for  portraits  of  the  men  of  the  day.     I  think  it  is  clear  that 
enormous  skill  was  devoted  to  the  likenesses  of  men  and  very 
little  care  to  the  gods.     The  composition  of  the  whole  was 
of  little   account.     A   little   later   the  demand  for  historical 
reliefs  on  arches  and  columns  was  met  by  the  development  of 
quite  new  features  in  the  art  of  sculpture,  namely,  those  spatial 
or  tridimensional  effects  of  perspective  which  are  so  remark- 
able on  the  Trajan  column.*     This  art  seems  to  have  begun  in 
Alexandrian  times  but  Rome  may  claim   the   credit  for   its 
development.     It  was  necessary,  if  sculpture  was  to  do  that 

*  Plate  73:  for  detail  see  Plates  53,  54,  55,  56. 


for  which  it  was  surely  never  intended — to  tell  a  story.  The 
Parthenon  frieze  was  religious  ornament,  the  Trajan  column 
is  secular  history.  When  the  Romans  required  ornament  they 
were  content  with  decoration  merely  and  the  artists  complied 
with  the  wonderful  skill  which  they  had  probably  learnt  in 
Asia.  Never  have  there  been  such  exquisite  natural  designs  in 
wreaths  and  festoons  of  flowers  and  fruit  as  in  the  sculpture  of 
the  Augustan  age.*  It  is  the  same  with  the  art  of  the  gold- 
smith, as  we  see  in  the  wonderful  discoveries  of  silver  made 
at  Hildesheim  and  Bosco  Reale  f  or  in  the  great  imperial 
cameos  wrought  in  sardonyx.  J  There  was  money  and  skill 
in  plenty.  But  what  was  lacking  was  a  spirit  to  animate  it. 

If  we  could  be  sure  of  our  ground  in  setting  down  realism 
as  the  Roman  contribution  to  the  history  of  Art,  it  would  be 
a  great  achievement  for  Rome.  Realism  is  undoubtedly  a  fine 
thing  though  idealism  is  a  finer.  Unfortunately  it  seems  that 
Hellenic  art  in  the  eastern  centres  was  developing  realism,  or 
at  least  illusionism,  for  itself  on  its  own  soil.  On  the  whole, 
in  the  controversy  between  the  archaeologists,  Strzygowski,  who 
claims  the  East  as  the  inspiring  force  in  Roman  days,  seems  to 
have  the  best  of  it.  The  coins  of  Asia  Minor  present  realistic 
portraiture  quite  distinct  from  that  which  was  native  on  Roman 
soil.  Thus  the  exquisite  festoons  of  flowers,  fruit,  and  birds,  all 
botanically  and  anatomically  correct  to  the  last  feather  or  stamen, 
are  probably  the  product  of  Greece  and  the  East.  But  we  may 
well  believe  that  the  nature  of  the  Roman  patron's  demands 
assisted  this  movement.  The  Roman,  if  we  may  judge  by  Pliny 
the  Roman  art-critic,  was  just  the  man  to  insist  that  an  apple 
should  not  resemble  a  pear  or  to  count  the  petals  of  a  poppy.  This 
sort  of  criticism  affords  excellent  discipline  for  the  artist.  The 
statues  of  the  period,  such  as  the  Venus  Genetrix  by  Arcesilaus 
in  the  Louvre  §  and  the  Orestes  and  Electra  group  by  Stephanus 
at  Naples,  are  not  very  interesting  works.  They  are  plainly 
late-born  issues  of  Greek  sculpture,  though  in  the  latter  there 

*  Plate  41,  Fig.  2  ;  Plate  42,  Fig.  i ;  and  Plate  43. 
t  Plate  38.      |  Plates  39,  40.      §  Plate  18,  Fig.  i. 



is  an  attempt  at  expression  which  seems  to  be  derived  from 
the  influence  of  portraiture.  The  "  Electra,"  for  example,  has 
the  same  look  in  her  eyes,  a  frowning  look  as  of  one  standing 
in  strong  sunlight,  that  we  see  in  the  portrait  of  Agrippa. 
Portraiture  had  taught  the  sculptor  of  this  day  new  secrets 
about  the  setting  of  the  human  eye.  They  had  learnt  the  effect 
produced  by  deepening  the  hollow  under  the  brow  and  by 
making  the  direction  of  the  glance  diverge  from  that  of  the 
head  and  body.  But  much  of  this  was  a  legacy  from  Scopas. 
In  little  things  like  the  hang  of  Electra's  robe  there  is  visible 
degeneration.  Here,  as  in  the  Tellus  Group,  the  contour  of 
the  bosom  is  made  to  support  the  falling  drapery,  an  unnatural 
and  very  unpleasing  effect. 

The  architecture  of  the  period  is  distinguished  by  similar 
characteristics.  It  is  distinctly  Greece-Roman  with  much  of 
—'the  subtle  harmony  of  fine  Greek  work  lost.  The  temples  are, 
on  the  whole,  the  least  interesting  part  of  the  work,  for  they  are 
pale  copies  of  Greek  architecture  not  always  very  artistically 
adapted.  A  good  many  of  the  ruined  monuments  of  Rome  to 
which  the  pious  traveller  now  directs  his  footsteps  date  from 
the  Augustan  period.  Many  of  the  temples  of  the  Republic 
were  now  rebuilt  on  the  old  plan  with  more  sumptuous  materials, 
as,  for  example,  the  round  shrine  of  Mater  Matuta,*  commonly 
called  the  Temple  of  Hercules.  Technical  innovations  include 
the  debasement  of  the  Doric  column  by  omitting  those  subtle 
flutings  which  gave  it  all  the  grace  whereby  its  strength  was 
saved  from  clumsiness,  and  by  erecting  it  upon  a  pedestal. 
But  the  Romans  preferred  the  more  exuberant  Corinthian  order 
with  its  florid  capital  of  acanthus  foliage,  a  type  which  the 
Greeks  had  used  very  sparingly  and  seldom  externally.  Again, 
the  Romans  had  discovered  improved  methods  of  construction 
which  enabled  them  to  use  a  wider  span  in  roofing,  but  they 
made  no  artistic  advantage  out  of  this  fact.  On  the  contrary, 
by  dispensing  with  the  peristyle  or  surrounding  colonnade  they 
rendered  the  exterior  of  their  temples  much  less  interesting. 

*  Plate  44,  Fig.  2. 


The  principal  surviving  'relics  of  Augustan  temples  are  eight 
columns  of  the  Temple  of  Saturn  *  which  still  stand  in  the  Forum 
at  Rome.  The  celebrated  Pantheon  f  is  now  recognised  to  be 
a  work  of  Hadrian's  time  though  its  plan  probably  repeats  that 
of  the  temple  erected  on  the  site  by  Agrippa.  But  the  clearest 
picture  of  the  ecclesiastical  architecture  of  the  day  is  to  be 
seen  on  the  reliefs  of  the  Altar  of  Peace,  which  reproduce  the 
appearance  of  actual  temples  with  almost  photographic  exacti- 
tude. The  finest  extant  example  is  undoubtedly  the  temple  at 
Nismes,  known  as  the  Maison  Carrde,J  a  graceful  erection  of 
this  period  which  exhibits  the  Corinthian  style  without  undue 

As  the  Romans  of  this  day  had  scarcely  any  trace  of 
genuine  religious  feeling  it  is  not  surprising  that  they  had  little 
of  their  own  to  contribute  to  temple  architecture  except  wealth 
and  magnificence.  But  they  were  naturally  devoted  to  building 
and  that  was  the  favourite  extravagance  of  the  rich.  Nothing 
but  a  few  pavements  survives  of  all  the  handsome  villas  which 
dotted  the  hill-sides  at  Tibur  and  Praeneste,  or  lined  the  coast 
at  Baiae,  Naples,  and  Surrentum.  But  there  are  several 
secular  buildings  of  Augustan  date  in  which  we  can  see  a 
handsome  Graeco-Roman  style  of  architecture  wherein  Greek 
columns  and  entablatures  were  used  by  Roman  architects  chiefly 
as  ornament.  The  Theatre  of  Marcellus,§  built  in  1 3  B.C.,  still 
presents  considerable  remains,  which  though  much  defaced 
exhibit  an  appearance  of  bygone  splendour.  The  lower  story 
is  Doric,  the  second  is  Ionic,  and  the  third  which  has  perished 
was  probably  in  the  Corinthian  style.  We  may  judge  its 
effective  appearance  from  the  copy  of  its  elevation  which 
Michael  Angelo  produced  in  his  design  for  the  inner  court  of 
the  Farnese  Palace  at  Rome.||  The  Renaissance  learnt  much  of 
its  architecture  from  Augustan  Rome  and  these  very  designs 
may  be  seen  springing  up  around  us  to-day  in  the  banks  and 
town-halls  of  London.  Thus  Augustan  Rome  holds  a 

*  Plate  44,  Fig.  i.        f  Plate  45.        J  Plate  46. 
§  Plate  47.  ||  plate  48. 



supremacy  for  secular  building  even  greater  than  Periclean 
Athens  achieved  for  temples.  Where  magnificence  and  solidity 
— and  it  may  be  added  cheapness — are  the  principal  motives  of 
construction,  the  Graeco-Roman  style  of  the  First  Century  B.C. 
is  unmatched. 

The  most  gorgeous  of  the  architectural  creations  of 
Augustus  was,  however,  that  Temple  of  Mars  the  Avenger 
which  he  set  up  in  memory  of  his  triumph  over  Antony  and 
his  punishment  of  the  conspirators.  Round  it  was  a  piazza. 
(forum)  adorned  with  imaginary  portrait  statues  of  all  the 
Roman  heroes  of  history  with  biographical  inscriptions  on  the 
bases.  In  all  the  Augustan  culture  we  see  the  impress  of  the 
prince's  own  Graeco-Roman  taste.  It  was  all  planned  to 
achieve  his  object  of  dazzling  the  multitude  and  yet  gaining 
over  to  his  side  the  highest  intellect  and  taste  of  his  day.  His 
own  tastes  were  refined  and  fastidious :  he  hated  extravagance 
and  utility  was  always  before  his  eyes.  "  He  read  the  classics 
in  both  tongues "  says  Suetonius,  "  principally  in  order  to  find 
salutary  precepts  and  examples  for  public  and  private  life.  He 
would  copy  these  out  word  for  word  and  send  them  to  his 
servants  or  to  the  governors  of  armies  and  provinces  or  to  the 
magistrates  of  the  city  whenever  they  required  his  admoni- 
tions. He  used  to  read  whole  volumes  to  the  Senate,  and 
often  publish  them  in  an  edict."  We  learn  further  that  he 
always  prepared  his  more  important  orations  most  carefully, 
writing  them  down  and  keeping  the  manuscript  close  at  hand. 
This  practice  he  followed  even  in  his  discourse  with  his  wife. 
Augustan  culture  has  just  this  quality :  it  takes  immense  pains 
and  succeeds  by  virtue  of  them.  It  lacks  a  good  deal  in 
spontaneity  but  it  makes  up  in  excellence  of  technique. 


FIG.    I.       WARRIORS 




Ambitionem  scriptoris  facile  auerseris,  obtrectatio  et  liuor 
pronis  auribus  accipiuntur :  quippe  adulationi  fcedum  crimen 
seruitutis,  malignitati  falsa  species  libertatis  inest. — TACITUS. 

N  these  words,  pregnant  and  terse  as  ever,  Tacitus 
gives  us  a  key  to  the  true  reading  of  imperial  Roman 
history.  " It  is  easy,"  he  says,  "to  discount  the  self- 
interest  of  the  historian  and  to  reject  his  eulogies,  but 
his  malicious  criticisms  are  greedily  swallowed.  For 
flattery  bears  the  odious  stamp  of  servility,  while 
malignity  wears  the  false  disguise  of  independence." 
Thus  out  of  his  own  mouth  the  foremost  historian  of 
the  early  Empire  gives  us  the  right  to  read  the 
literary  sources  in  a  spirit  favourable  to  the  emperors. 
So  when  the  historians  describe  Tiberius  as  a  blood- 
thirsty tyrant  who  hid  himself  away  in  the  island  of 
Capri,  and  there  (at  the  age  of  seventy!)  began  to 
devote  himself  to  disgusting  orgies  of  lust  and  cruelty, 
we  shall  prefer  to  reject  that  story  as  absurd,  and  to 
regard  Tiberius  as  a  proud  and  reserved  aristocrat  who  found 
it  impossible  to  tolerate  the  mixture  of  adulation  and  spite 
with  which  he  was  treated  by  the  other  nobles  of  Rome,  and 
withdrew  from  the  capital  in  order  to  escape  it.  When 
Gaius  (Caligula)  is  represented  as  a  lunatic,  we  merely  under- 
stand that  he  was  unpopular ;  when  we  are  told  that  he  made 
his  horse  a  consul,  we  recognise  a  satirist's  humorous  exaggera- 
tion of  his  neglect  of  some  noble  family's  claims  to  that  office ; 



when  we  read  that  he  set  his  army  to  collect  oyster  shells  on 
the  coast  of  Normandy,  we  only  conclude  that  his  surrender  of 
the  projected  invasion  of  Britain  was  a  subject  of  ridicule  in 
Rome.  Claudius  is  described  as  a  stupid  and  clumsy  pedant, 
deformed  and  inarticulate :  in  reality  he  seems  to  have  been  a 
scholar  with  a  leaning  towards  antiquarian  and  republican 
traditions.  Even  in  the  case  of  Nero,  the  savage  ferocity  with 
which  he  is  charged  is  chiefly  due  to  the  fact  that  his  hand  lay 
heavy  on  the  senators.  He  was  undoubtedly  popular  with  the 
commons,  and  his  real  offence  was  to  possess  more  refine- 
ment and  culture  than  was  considered  proper  in  a  Roman 
noble,  to  be  too  fond  of  Greeks  and  art  and  music.  Never- 
theless it  is  impossible  to  write  history  in  whitewash,  and 
the  only  safe  method  of  dealing  with  a  period  like  this  is 
to  ignore  the  personalities  on  the  throne  of  the  Caesars,  and 
to  attempt  a  broad  treatment  of  the  general  tendency  of  these 

But  by  neglecting  the  gossip  and  the  personalities  we  do, 
I  fear,  run  the  risk  of  missing  much  of  the  interest  of  the 
period,  and  perhaps  we  lose  an  important  part  of  the  truth. 
We  must  not  allow  ourselves  to  be  wholly  deprived  of  that  im- 
pression of  purple  and  splendour  which  hangs  about  the  Golden 
House  of  Nero,  nor  to  forget  the  taint  of  crime  which  clings  to 
the  palaces  of  the  Caesars.  The  latter  in  particular  is  an 
essential  part  of  imperial  history.  As  we  have  seen,  this 
Empire  founded  on  compromise  was  and  remained  illegitimate. 
The  succession  was  always  open  to  question ;  there  was  no  law 
of  heredity.  This  fact  was  emphasised  by  the  barrenness  of 
the  Roman  aristocracy.  For  a  hundred  years  no  prince  had 
a  son  to  succeed  him,  so  that  the  palace  was  always  full  of 
intrigue.  Finally,  the  wickedness  of  the  women  is  one  of  the 
most  sinister  features  of  the  time.  Though  it  was,  indeed,  no 
innovation  of  the  Empire,  it  now  gains  a  terrible  significance 
in  the  dynastic  conflicts  which  surrounded  the  throne.  Every 
one  of  the  early  reigns  is  stained  with  murders  and  fearful 
crimes  in  the  palace.  No  doubt  much  of  this  history  is  false 





and  malicious.  For  example,  it  is  by  no  means  likely  that 
Germanicus  was  poisoned.  There  were  always  scandal-mongers 
to  hint  at  poison  when  any  member  of  the  ruling  house  died  of 
disease.  But  even  with  the  most  liberal  discount  for  exaggera- 
tion, the  record  is  a  black  one.  Let  us  select  two  typical 
stories,  in  order  to  suggest  the  kind  of  satanic  halo  which 
surrounds  the  imperial  houses,  as  the  ancient  historians  depict 

Claudius,  the  conqueror  of  Britain,  was  in  reality  the  ablest 
and  best  of  the  Claudian  Caesars  who  succeeded  Augustus,  but 
his  wife  Messalina,  thirty-four  years  his  junior,  was  a  creature 
of  shameless  lust  and  remorseless  cruelty.  Valerius  Asiaticus, 
a  Gaul  by  birth  but  now  the  richest  noble  of  his  day,  was  in 
possession  of  the  far-famed  gardens  of  Lucullus.  Messalina 
coveted  the  park  and  accused  him  to  her  husband,  with  the 
inevitable  result.  Asiaticus  died  like  a  gentleman.  He  took 
his  usual  exercise,  he  bathed  and  dined  quite  cheerfully,  and 
then  he  opened  his  veins,  "but  not  until  he  had  inspected  his 
funeral  pyre  and  ordered  its  removal  to  another  place,  for  fear 
that  the  smoke  should  injure  the  thick  foliage  of  the  trees." 
So  died  this  lover  of  gardens.  Messalina's  sins  grew  more 
open,  until  at  last  she  went  through  a  public  pantomime  of 
marriage  with  one  of  her  paramours,  Silius,  a  consul-elect. 
The  ceremony  was  performed  before  a  number  of  witnesses  duly 
invited.  Claudius  was  at  that  time  guided  by  the  counsels  of 
three  Greek  secretaries,  and  one  of  them  determined  to  reveal 
the  shameful  truth  to  the  emperor.  Tacitus  tells  the  story  of 
her  ruin  in  graphic  language.  She  was  celebrating  the  vintage 
feast  in  the  gardens  she  had  wickedly  gained  for  herself.  The 
presses  were  being  trodden,  the  vats  were  overflowing,  women 
girt  with  skins  were  dancing,  as  Bacchanals  dance  in  their 
worship  or  their  frenzy.  Messalina  with  flowing  hair  shook 
the  thyrsus,  and  Silius,  at  her  side,  crowned  with  ivy  and 
wearing  the  buskin,  moved  his  head  in  time  with  some  lascivious 
chorus.  One  of  the  guests  had  climbed  a  tree  in  sport  and 
reported  a  "  hurricane  from  Ostia."  It  was  truer  than  he  knew, 



for  just  then  messengers  began  to  arrive  with  news  that  Claudius 
was  on  his  way  from  Ostia,  coming  with  vengeance.  The 
revels  ceased,  the  revellers  fled  in  all  directions,  and  Messalina, 
left  deserted,  mounted  a  garden  cart  to  proceed  along  the  road  to 
meet  her  husband.  Her  appeal  failed,  though  Claudius  would 
undoubtedly  have  relented  but  for  the  interference  of  the  freed- 
man  Narcissus.  After  dinner,  warmed  with  the  wine,  he  bade 
some  one  go  and  tell  "  that  poor  creature  "  to  come  before  him 
on  the  morrow  to  plead  her  cause.  But  Narcissus  had  already 
sent  soldiers  to  her,  and  she  was  driven  to  suicide.  "  Claudius 
was  still  at  the  banquet  when  they  told  him  that  Messalina  was 
dead,  without  mentioning  whether  it  was  by  her  own  or  another's 
hand.  Nor  did  he  ask  the  question,  but  called  for  his  cup  and 
finished  the  repast  as  usual." 

Nero,  too,  in  the  pages  of  Suetonius  appears  so  incredible 
in  his  wickedness  that  the  exaggeration  is  obvious.  Of  his 
splendid  new  palace  the  Golden  House  we  read :  "  The 
portico  was  so  high  that  it  could  contain  a  colossal  statue  of 
himself  a  hundred  and  twenty  feet  in  height ;  and  the  space  it 
included  was  so  vast  that  it  had  a  triple  colonnade,  a  mile  in 
length,  and  a  lake  like  a  sea,  surrounded  with  buildings  that 
looked  like  a  city.  It  had  a  park  with  cornfields,  vineyards, 
pastures,  and  woods  containing  a  vast  number  of  animals  of  all 
kinds,  wild  and  tame.  Parts  of  it  were  entirely  overlaid  with 
gold,  and  incrusted  with  jewels  and  pearl.  The  supper-rooms 
were  vaulted  and  the  compartments  of  the  ceilings,  which  were 
inlaid  with  ivory,  were  made  to  revolve  and  scatter  flowers. 
They  also  contained  pipes  to  shed  scents  upon  the  guests.  The 
chief  banqueting-room  was  circular  and  revolved  perpetually 
day  and  night,  according  to  the  motion  of  the  celestial  bodies. 
The  baths  were  supplied  with  water  from  the  sea  and  the 
Albula."  At  the  dedication  of  this  magnificent  building,  all 
that  he  said  in  praise  of  it  was :  "  Now  at  last  I  have  begun  to 
live  like  a  gentleman."  They  charged  Nero  with  the  murder 
of  all  his  relatives,  and  there  is  a  grim  sort  of  humour  in  the 
story  of  his  frequent  attempts  upon  his  mother's  life.  His 

grievance  against  her  was  that  she  was  too  strict.  First,  he 
deprived  her  of  her  bodyguard,  and  suborned  people  to  harass 
her  with  lawsuits  which  drove  her  out  of  the  city.  In  her 
retirement  he  set  others  to  follow  her  about  by  land  and  sea 
with  abuse  and  scurrilous  language.  Three  times  he  attempted 
her  life  by  poison,  but  finding  she  had  previously  rendered 
herself  immune  by  the  use  of  antidotes,  he  next  designed 
machinery  to  make  the  floor  above  her  bed-chamber  collapse 
while  she  was  asleep.  When  this  failed  he  constructed  a 
special  coffin-ship,  which  could  be  made  to  fall  in  pieces,  and 
then  sent  her  a  loving  invitation  to  visit  him  at  Baise,  the 
Brighton  of  the  Romans.  The  ships  of  her  escort  were  like- 
wise instructed  to  ram  her  by  accident  on  the  way  home.  He 
attended  her  to  the  vessel  in  a  very  cheerful  spirit  and  kissed 
her  bosom  at  parting  with  her.  After  which  he  sat  up  late  at 
night  waiting  with  great  anxiety  for  the  joyful  news  of  her 
decease.  But  news  arrived  that  the  accident  had  miscarried, 
the  dowager  empress  was  swimming  to  shore.  When  her 
freedman  came  joyfully  to  narrate  her  escape,  Nero  pretended 
that  the  man  had  come  to  assassinate  him  and  ordered  her  to 
be  put  to  death.  Suetonius  adds  "  on  good  authority  "  that  he 
went  to  view  her  corpse  and  criticised  her  blemishes  to  his 
followers,  and  then  called  for  drink.  After  this  he  was  haunted 
by  her  ghost. 

The  famous  story  of  his  death  is  told  with  a  little  restraint, 
and  the  latter  part  of  it  is  not  incredible.  When  the  first  bad 
news  came  of  the  revolt  of  Vindex  with  the  legions  of  Gaul, 
Nero  summoned  his  privy  council  and  held  a  hasty  consultation 
with  them  about  the  crisis,  but  spent  the  rest  of  the  day  in 
showing  them  a  hydraulic  organ  and  discoursing  upon  the 
intricacies  of  the  invention.  Then  he  composed  a  skit  upon 
the  rebels,  and  prepared  a  pathetic  speech  which  was  to  make 
the  mutineers  return  to  his  allegiance  in  tears.  He  sat  down 
to  compose  the  songs  of  triumph  which  should  be  sung  upon 
that  occasion.  In  preparing  his  expedition  his  first  thought 
was  to  provide  carriages  for  the  band:  he  equipped  all  his 

R  257 


concubines  as  Amazons  with  battle-axes  and  bucklers.  But 
when  he  heard  of  the  revolt  of  the  Spanish  army  under  Galba 
also,  he  fell  into  a  temper  and  tore  the  dispatch  to  pieces.  He 
broke  his  precious  cups  and  put  up  a  dose  of  Locusta's  poison 
in  a  golden  box.  He  ordered  the  praetorian  guard  to  rally 
round  him,  but  they  only  quoted  Vergil  to  him : 

"  Is  death  indeed  so  hard  a  lot  ?  " 

At  midnight  he  awoke  and  found  that  the  guards  had  deserted 
his  bedside.  Even  his  bedding  and  his  golden  box  of  poison 
had  been  stolen.  So  he  stumbled  out  into  the  night  as  if  he 
would  throw  himself  into  the  Tiber.  But  a  few  faithful  slaves 
came  to  him  and  a  freedman  offered  him  his  country  villa  for 
a  refuge,  and  Nero  rode  thither  in  a  shabby  disguise.  An 
earthquake  shook  the  ground  and  a  flash  of  lightning  darted 
in  his  face ;  he  heard  the  soldiers  in  the  praetorian  camp  shouting 
for  Galba.  Skulking  among  bushes  and  briers,  he  crawled  on 
all  fours  to  a  wretched  outhouse  of  his  freedman's  villa.  There 
he  ordered  them  to  dig  a  grave  and  line  it  with  scraps  of  marble. 
The  water  and  wood  for  his  obsequies  were  prepared,  while  he 
uttered  the  famous  words  " qualis  artifex  pereol"  either 
meaning  "  What  an  artist  the  world  is  losing ! "  or  (more 
probably)  "What  an  artistic  death!"  A  dispatch  came  to 
announce  that  he  had  been  declared  a  public  enemy  by  the 
senate,  and  was  to  be  punished  according  to  the  ancient  custom 
of  the  Romans.  He  asked  what  sort  of  death  that  meant,  and 
was  informed  that  the  criminal  was  generally  stripped  naked 
and  scourged  to  death  with  his  head  in  a  pillory.  Then  he 
took  up  daggers  and  tried  the  points,  but  still  he  dared  not  die. 
He  begged  one  of  his  attendants  to  give  him  the  example.  At 
last  he  heard  the  horsemen  coming,  quoted  a  line  of  the  Iliad 
very  appropriately,  and  drove,  with  the  help  of  his  secretary,  a 
dagger  into  his  throat. 

Now,  even  of  this,  three-quarters  is  pure  rhetoric.  For 
example,  it  was  impossible  that  Nero  should  have  heard  the 
soldiers  in  the  Esquiline  Camp  from  the  road  which  he  took  to 






his  servant's  villa.  The  details  are  the  invention  of  malice, 
or  the  attempt  of  a  literary  artist  to  improve  his  story.  Even 
Suetonius  admits  that  the  populace  continued  to  deck  Nero's 
tomb  with  spring  and  summer  flowers,  that  they  dressed 
up  his  image  and  placed  it  on  the  rostra  as  if  he  were 
still  alive,  and  that  a  pretender,  who  arose  in  his  name 
twenty  years  later,  was  received  with  acclamation  among  the 

Having  made  this  concession  to  the  literary  tradition  which 
can  be  shown  to  be  very  largely  fiction,  we  may  now  endeavour 
to  gather  up  the  fragments  of  history  and  briefly  trace  the 
progress  of  the  Empire  during  its  first  century.  First,  as  to 
its  geographical  growth;  although  Augustus  had  bequeathed 
in  his  testament  the  advice  not  to  enlarge  the  frontiers  of  the 
Empire,  and  Tiberius  had  observed  the  precept,  yet  conquest 
still  remained  an  object  of  ambition  in  the  heart  of  every 
emperor  who  sought  military  renown  or  fresh  sources  of  revenue. 
Britain,  the  declined  legacy  of  Julius,  was  obviously  beckoning 
the  Romans.  Diplomatic  relations  with  the  many  kings  of  that 
island  had  always  been  frequent,  and  it  was  found  that  Britain 
was  an  inconvenient  neighbour  for  a  rapidly  Romanising  Gaul. 
There  was  a  continual  coming  and  going  across  the  water,  for 
there  were  kindred  peoples  on  each  side.  Especially,  it  was  the 
last  refuge  of  the  anti-Roman  force  of  Druidism,  a  religion 
which  was  already  declining  and  was  suppressed  by  Claudius 
in  Gaul.  That  this  was  so  is  shown  by  the  forward  movement 
of  the  Romans  in  the  direction  of  Anglesey.  The  details  of 
the  conquest  of  Britain  are,  in  spite  of  voluminous  discussions, 
by  no  means  certain.  Aulus  Plautius  Silvanus  with  four  legions, 
and  with  the  future  emperor  Vespasian  as  one  of  his  brigadiers, 
defeated  Cymbeline  and  ten  other  kings  of  South  Britain, 
crossed  the  Thames  and  conquered  Colchester  (Camulodunum), 
which  became  a  Roman  colonia  and  the  centre  of  govern- 
ment. This  was  in  A.D.  43,  and  Claudius  himself  spent  a 
fortnight  in  our  island  in  order  to  receive  the  honours  of 
victory.  The  conquest  was  not  too  easily  achieved,  for  there 



were  five  great  battles  in  which  the  emperor,  though  absent, 
received  the  titles  of  victory.  Plautius  himself  seems  to  have 
reached  the  line  of  the  Trent  and  Severn.  Ostorius  Scapula, 
his  successor,  was  mainly  occupied  in  subduing  the  Silures  of 
the  Welsh  mountains,  and  in  the  conquest  of  the  elusive  prince 
Caradoc.  The  mercy  shown  to  that  defeated  hero  proves  that 
the  Romans  had  advanced  in  humanity  since  the  days  of 
Jugurtha.  The  two  succeeding  legates  made  no  fresh  advance, 
but  Suetonius  Paulinus  in  A.D.  59-61  established  Chester  as  his 
western  camp.  While  he  was  engaged  in  the  conquest  of 
Anglesey,  leaving  only  the  ninth  legion  to  hold  the  conquered 
province,  there  broke  out  the  great  rebellion  under  the  heroic 
Boudicca.  There  never  has  been  a  quarrel  in  this  island 
which  has  not  had  money  as  its  root.  It  was  not  so  much  the 
oppressive  nature  of  the  tribute  as  the  vexatious  methods  of  the 
Roman  financiers,  who  still  as  in  republican  days  swarmed  in 
the  wake  of  eagles,  that  stirred  the  Iceni  and  their  queen  into 
revolt.  Camulodunum,  Verulamium,  and  Londinium  were 
taken  and  sacked  and  there  was  an  immense  slaughter  of 
Roman  civilians  and  Romanised  Britons.  But  vengeance 
followed:  no  barbarians  could  stand  against  the  strategy  and 
discipline  of  the  legions. 

Succeeding  governors  were  mainly  content  to  pacify  and 
civilise  the  island. 

One  of  the  extraordinarily  pungent  chapters  of  Tacitus 
shows  us  the  Roman  method  of  empire-building  in  Britain. 
"The  following  winter,"  he  says  of  A.D.  79,  "was  spent  in 
useful  statecraft.  To  make  a  people  which  was  scattered  and 
barbarous,  and  therefore  prone  to  warfare,  grow  accustomed 
to  peace  and  quietness  by  way  of  their  pleasures,  Agricola 
used  to  persuade  them  by  private  exhortations  and  public 
assistance  to  build  temples,  forums,  and  houses,  with  praise 
for  the  eager  and  admonitions  for  the  laggard.  Thus 
they  could  not  help  embarking  on  the  rivalry  for  honour. 
Now  he  began  to  instruct  the  sons  of  chieftains  in  the  liberal 
arts,  to  xtol  the  natural  abilities  of  the  Britons  above  the 



studious  habits  of  Gaul,  so  that  those  who  lately  rejected  even 
the  Roman  language  now  became  zealous  for  oratory.  So 
even  our  dress  came  into  esteem,  and  the  toga  was  commonly 
worn.  The  next  step  was  towards  the  attractions  of  our  vices, 
lounging  in  colonnades,  baths,  and  refined  dinner-parties.  They 
were  too  ignorant  to  see  that  what  they  call  civilisation  was 
really  a  form  of  slavery."  There  is  no  doubt  that  the  Britons 
took  as  readily  as  their  Gallic  cousins  to  the  Roman  civilisation. 
Many  of  them  took  Roman  names  and  became  Roman  citizens. 
They  learnt  the  pleasures  of  the  bath  and  the  amphitheatre, 
their  mines  were  exploited,  arts  and  industries  were  introduced, 
agriculture  was  improved.  The  Druids  hid  themselves  away 
in  the  unconquered  fastnesses  of  Wales  or  crossed  over  to  the 
Hibernian  island  which  the  Romans  never  had  leisure  to 
conquer.  Meanwhile  the  Britons  were  learning  to  worship  the 
obsolete  gods  of  Rome,  and  presently  the  Eastern  deities  who 
came  in  their  train. 

It  was  the  father-in-law  of  Tacitus,  Julius  Agricola,  who 
conquered,  or  at  least  defeated,  the  northern  tribes  of  England. 
Among  the  powerful  Brigantes  he  established  a  garrison  at 
York  (Eburacum),  which  eventually  became  the  most  important 
of  all  the  Roman  centres.  He  advanced  into  Scotland  also, 
and  inflicted  a  bloody  defeat  upon  the  wild  Caledonians.  But 
Scotland  remained  unconquered,  as  did  the  neighbouring  island 
upon  which  also  Agricola  had  cast  his  ambitious  eyes.  The 
Roman  army  was  wanted  elsewhere,  and  the  Emperor  Domitian 
declined  to  assist  any  further  adventures.  Little  more  of  our 
island's  story  is  recorded  until  the  travelling  Emperor  Hadrian 
came  out  to  visit  us  in  A.D.  122.  He  saw  that  the  wild  north 
was  only  to  be  won  by  a  gradual  advance  with  more  or  less 
peaceful  penetration  northwards.  The  system  of  fortified 
frontiers  was  already  established  on  the  Rhine  and  Danube, 
and  Hadrian  drew  his  finger  across  the  seventy  miles  between 
Bowness  and  Wallsend.  Across  this  space,  where  the  Tyne  and 
Solway  almost  overlap,  the  Roman  lines  ran  straight  over  hill 
and  dale,  and  there  they  are  to  this  day  as  a  silent  proof  of  the 



greatness  of  the  Roman  people.*     This  was  more  than  a  frontier : 
it  was  a  vast  elongated  camp  which  looked  south  as  well  as 
north  and  frowned  alike  upon  the  Brigantes  and  the  Caledonians. 
It  was  pierced  at  intervals  by  fortified  gates  and  great  roads  ran 
northwards  through  it.     On  the  north  there  was  first  a  ditch, 
and  then  a  stone  wall  broad  enough  for  two  or  three  men  to 
walk  abreast  along  it  and  nearly  twenty  feet  high.     Behind  this, 
in  a  space  of   about  140  yards  wide,  runs   a  road  connect- 
ing a  chain  of  fourteen  large  camps,  some  of  which  grew  into 
towns.     Southward  again  was  the  quadruple  rampart  of  earth, 
a  mound,  a  dyke,  and  then  a  double  mound.     This  immense 
labour,  though  it  is  small  in  comparison  with  Roman  works 
elsewhere,  was  achieved  not  by  British  slaves,  but  by  Roman 
soldiers,  some  of  whom  were  Britons,  some  Spaniards,  and  some 
Germans.     It  was  completed  gradually  under  various  emperors. 
There  were  detached  forts  both  north  and  south  of  the  wall  of 
Hadrian.     It  was  Antoninus  Pius  who   made   the   next  step 
twenty  years  later.     The  Antonine  wall  from  the  Forth  to  the 
Clyde   is   only  about   half   as  long  and  of  inferior  strength. 
There  were  camps  even   north    of   this,  in    Stirlingshire   for 
example,  and  it  is  clear  that  the  Romans  intended  to  feel  their 
way  into  the  Highlands.     But  that  was  contrary  to  their  fates. 
Gaul  meanwhile  was  becoming  as  civilised  as  Italy  herself. 
Numbers  of  the  Gauls  who  had  acquired  the    Latin   speech 
received  the  jus  Latinum,  which  was  almost  equivalent  to  full 
citizenship.     Claudius  admitted  the  chiefs  of  the  /Edui  into  the 
Roman  senate,  and  part  of  the  speech  in  which  he  did  so  is 
preserved  on  bronze  tablets  at  Lyons.     Twice  in  the  course  of 
the  century  there  were  interesting  attempts  to  give  political  ex- 
pression  to   the   Gallic   sense   of  nationality.     The  revolt  of 
Vindex  at  the  close  of  Nero's  reign  was  little  more  than  a 
mutiny,  but  the  projected  "  Empire  of  the  Gauls,"  which  was 
set  up  during  the  confusion  which  followed  the  fall  of  Vitellius, 
came   very  near  success.     Jealousy  between   the   Gauls   and 
Germans  wrecked  it. 

*  Plate  51. 



In  the  case  of  Germany,  it  looked  for  a  time  as  if  Tiberius, 
who,  of  course,  had  personal  knowledge  of  the  difficulties  and 
advantages  of  further  conquest,  meant  to  break  his  stepfather's 
precept  and  annex  more  territory.  But  probably  the  annual 
expeditions  of  Germanicus  were  not  intended  to  be  more  than 
punitive  and  demonstrative.  Blood  enough  was  shed,  and 
acres  enough  laid  waste,  to  appease  the  unburied  ghosts  of 
Varus  and  his  legions.  But  though  the  great  battle  of 
Idistavisus  was  hailed  as  a  Roman  victory,  Arminius  himself 
continually  eluded  the  Romans  and  the  legions  were  more  than 
once  in  peril  of  ambush.  When  Tiberius  cried  halt,  it  was  open 
to  the  critics  to  find  a  malevolent  explanation  in  his  jealousy  of 
Germanicus,  but  it  is  much  more  likely  to  have  been  the 
deliberate  policy  of  an  emperor  who  had  knowledge  of  Germany. 
Thus,  although  Arminius  presently  fell  a  victim  to  his  own 
ambition,  and  perished  by  the  dagger  of  a  tyrannicide  kinsman, 
he  had  done  his  work  and  saved  the  liberty  of  Germany. 
Henceforth  the  Romans  confined  themselves  to  the  Rhine 
frontier,  though  they  had  posts  and  summer  camps  beyond  it. 
By  degrees  the  generals  of  the  Upper  and  Lower  Armies  in 
Germany  developed  into  governors  of  two  German  provinces, 
but  Germany  was  unconquered.  There  was  a  great  military 
road  along  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine  joining  the  garrison 
towns  where  the  legions  were  quartered.  Mogontiacum 
(Mainz)  and  Vetera  Castra  (Xanten)  remained  as  the  head- 
quarters, until  the  latter  was  superseded  by  Cologne  (Colonia 
Agrippinensis)  founded  under  Claudius.  Trier  (Augusta 
Treverorum),  another  foundation  of  about  the  same  date,  grew 
into  an  important  centre  of  Roman  civilisation,  as  its  majestic 
Roman  gate*  and  fine  amphitheatre  still  bear  witness.  Under 
Claudius  also  the  great  Via  Claudia  over  the  Brenner  Pass  was 
completed,  and  the  canal  joining  the  Maas  to  the  Rhine. 
This  was  better  work  for  Roman  soldiers  than  slaughtering 
Chatti  and  Chauci  in  their  native  forests.  The  re-entrant  angle 
of  the  Rhine  and  Danube  about  the  Black  Forest,  where  the 

*  Plate  52. 


rivers  run  small,  was  recognised  as  a  danger-point.  The 
barbarian  Germans  were  accordingly  cleared  away  to  make 
room  for  a  body  of  Gallic  emigrants,  who  received  lands  on 
condition  of  paying  a  tithe  of  their  produce  as  rent,  and  of 
undertaking  their  own  defence.  This  was  a  new  piece  of 
frontier  policy  which  was  often  imitated  in  later  times. 

It  seems  to  have  been  the  Flavian  emperors,  Vespasian  and 
Domitian,  who  advanced  a  step  farther.  On  the  other  side  of 
the  Rhine  and  beyond  these  Agri  Decumates  the  Romans 

Roman  Limes 

began  to  construct  a  line  of  forts  and  wooden  watch-towers 
linked  by  a  rampart  of  earth,  and  known  as  the  Limes  Trans- 
Rhenamis.  This  frontier  of  Upper  Germany  left  the  Rhine 
between  Linz  and  Andernach,  crossed  the  Lahn  at  Ems,  and 
then  turned  eastwards  north  of  Wiesbaden  (Aquae  Mattiacae) 
and  Frankfort.  After  Saalburg  it  runs  on  a  north-easterly 
curve  to  Griiningen,  whence  it  turns  south,  and  continues  for 
more  than  100  miles  through  Aschaffenburg  and  Worth  to 
join  the  Rhaetian  limes  at  Lorch.  From  Lorch  the  Rhsetian 
limes  goes  eastwards  to  join  the  Danube  a  few  miles  above 
Regensburg.  At  first  perhaps  it  was  little  more  than  a  police  and 
customs  limit,  but  it  gradually  grew  into  a  formidable  barrier 
behind  which  the  Roman  Empire  rested  in  a  too  profound 
security.  Trajan  continued  it.  Hadrian  strengthened  it  with 
a  wall  and  palisade.  Commodus  further  fortified  and  extended 
it.  A  similar  bulwark  ran  along  the  Danube.  This  policy  of 




setting  up  immobile  defences  like  the  Great  Wall  of  China  is 
always  a  dangerous  one.  Useful  at  first  and  visibly  strong,  it 
tends  to  lull  the  defenders  into  a  false  security.  The  camps 
and  forts  grew  into  towns,  the  armies  into  peaceful  citizens 
living  with  their  wives  and  children  and  devoting  themselves 
to  trade  and  husbandry.  Meanwhile  the  barbarians  on  the 
other  side  were  growing  stronger  and  learning  the  art  of  war 
as  fast  as  the  Romans  were  forgetting  it. 

After  this  the  danger-point  for  the  Empire  shifted  gradually 
eastwards  down  the  Danube.  Claudius  had  converted  Thrace 
from  an  allied  kingdom  into  a  Roman  province  in  A.D.  46.  Much 
difficulty  was  caused  by  the  Dacians,  who  lived  just  across  the 
Danube  on  the  north  bank  opposite  the  Roman  province  of 
Moesia  and  in  the  modern  Roumania.  As  the  Danube  was  apt 
to  become  frozen  in  winter  it  ceased  to  offer  a  satisfactory 
frontier,  so  long  as  there  were  powerful  enemies  on  the  other 
side.  At  first  the  Romans  tried  the  system  of  transplanting 
them,  50,000  under  Augustus  and  100,000  under  Nero,  and 
settling  them  in  the  province  of  Moesia.  But  it  was  a  stupid 
policy,  for  it  meant  constant  intrigues  between  the  free  barbarians 
and  their  enslaved  kinsfolk.  Vespasian  accordingly  moved 
two  legions  down  from  Dalmatia  to  reinforce  the  two  already 
stationed  in  Moesia.  But  presently  there  arose  an  able  and 
heroic  king  called  Decebalus,  who  welded  the  Dacians  into  a 
compact  and  organised  kingdom,  and  began  to  menace  the 
security  of  the  Empire.  Like  Marbod  of  Bohemia,  he  drilled 
his  barbarians  on  the  Roman  model.  In  A.D.  85  he  invaded 
Moesia,  won  victories  and  did  great  damage.  Domitian,  called 
upon  to  face  this  peril,  was  content  with  inflicting  a  single 
defeat  upon  them  and  then  accepting  Decebalus  as  a  client 
prince.  He  gave  him  Roman  engineers  and  artillerymen,  and 
even  sent  gifts  of  money  which  the  barbarians  were  pleased  to 
regard  as  tribute.  This  has  been  set  down  as  cowardice,  but 
it  was  certainly  unwisdom  in  Domitian,  for  Decebalus  grew 
stronger  and  more  dangerous.  It  was  left  for  Trajan,  the 
greatest  soldier  of  all  the  early  emperors,  to  face  this  thorny 



problem  in  the  two  great  Dacian  Wars  of  101  and  105  B.C. 
The  whole  war  is  depicted  for  us  by  pictures  in  stone.  The 
spiral  reliefs  which  cover  the  column  of  Trajan  tell  us,  with  far 
more  detail  than  the  narrative  of  Dio,  the  history  of  the  two 
Dacian  Wars.  We  see  the  embarkation  of  the  Roman  army, 
we  see  it  on  the  march  with  its  scouts  in  advance,  we  see  the 
solemn  purifications,  sacrifices,  and  harangues  which  preceded 
battle.  We  see  the  battles  themselves,  in  which  the  Romans 
with  sword  and  pilum  defeat  the  Dacians  and  their  mail-clad 
Sarmatian  cavalry.  The  great  bridge  built  across  the  Danube  at 
Viminacium  by  the  Greek  architect  Apollodorus  is  faithfully 
depicted.  We  can  watch  the  siege  of  the  Dacian  capital, 
Sarmizegethusa,  and  observe  the  construction  of  the  siege- 
engines.  Scenes  of  pathos  are  most  graphically  portrayed, 
the  torturing  of  Roman  prisoners  by  the  barbarian  women,  the 
suicide  of  the  Dacian  chiefs  by  poison,  and  the  death  of  the 
heroic  Decebalus.  At  intervals  throughout  the  story  there 
appears  and  reappears  the  calm  and  stately  figure  of  Trajan, 
steering  his  ship,  sacrificing  for  victory,  leading  the  march  or 
the  charge,  haranguing  his  troops,  directing  the  labour  of 
engineering,  consulting  with  his  officers,  or  receiving  the  sub- 
mission of  the  foe.* 

The  end  of  the  two  wars  was  that  Dacia  was  annexed  and 
became  a  province  of  the  Empire.  Here,  as  elsewhere,  Trajan 
showed  his  contempt  of  natural  frontiers.  As  a  gallant  soldier 
himself,  he  believed  in  the  invincibility  of  the  Roman  arms,  and 
preferred  to  put  his  trust  in  legions  rather  than  in  walls.  For  this 
he  has  been  condemned  by  modern  historians,  but  history  is  on 
his  side.  More  than  anything  else  it  was  reliance  on  natural 
frontiers  and  artificial  ramparts,  with  the  consequent  loss  of 
military  instincts,  which  was  to  be  the  undoing  of  the  Roman 

On  the  eastern  frontier  it  was  for  a  long  time  a  game  of 
tug-of-war  between  Rome  and  Parthia,  the  rope  being  supplied 
by  the  kingdom  of  Armenia.  The  Augustan  policy  of  filling 

*  Plates  53,  54,  55,  56. 



the  oriental  thrones  with  princes  trained  at  Rome  was  not  a 
great  success.  You  might  learn  bad  lessons  at  court;  you 
might  even  learn  to  know  Rome  without  learning  to  love  or 
fear  her.  The  princes  sent  to  Armenia  or  Parthia  were  un- 
stable allies  and  the  ordinary  course  of  events  was  for  the 
Romans  to  send  out  a  king  to  Armenia  and  for  the  Parthians 
to  depose  him.  Again  it  was  left  for  Trajan  to  attack  this 
problem  in  the  old  Roman  fashion ;  when  the  usual  submissive 
embassy  arrived,  Trajan  answered,  as  a  Metellus  might  have 
done,  that  he  wanted  deeds  not  words,  and  he  led  his  army  on. 
Trajan  found  the  Eastern  legions,  whose  headquarters  were  at 
Antioch,  already  civilianised  and  orientalised  so  that  they  had 
become  useless  for  fighting.  At  this  time  there  were  four 
legions  in  Syria,  one  in  Judaea  and  one  in  the  new  province  of 
Cappadocia.  The  first  task  was  to  restore  discipline  and  energy 
to  these  troops.  Then,  without  bloodshed,  in  A.D.  115  Armenia 
was  declared  a  province.  Parthia,  distracted  by  civil  war,  was 
overrun,  its  capital  Ctesiphon  easily  taken  by  siege.  Mesopo- 
tamia was  made  a  province,  and  to  Parthia  was  given  a  new 
king.  The  client  kingdom  of  Adiabene  became  a  third  new 
province  under  the  name  of  Assyria.  This  meant  that  the 
Tigris  became  the  eastern  frontier  instead  of  the  Euphrates. 
Unfortunately  these  conquests  had  been  too  easily  achieved, 
largely  through  the  temporary  dissensions  of  the  Parthians,  who 
accordingly  failed  to  experience  the  salutary  discipline  of  real 
defeat.  Trajan  died  on  his  way  home,  and  Hadrian,  who  was 
more  of  a  statesman  than  a  warrior,  reversed  his  predecessor's 
policy.  He  surrendered  the  three  new  provinces  and  even 
acquiesced  in  the  Parthians'  choice  of  a  king  of  their  own  in 
place  of  the  Roman  nominee.  The  only  new  provinces  of 
Trajan's  creation  which  Hadrian  retained  were  Dacia  and 

Although  their  military  force  was  contemptible,  their 
spiritual  zeal  made  the  Jews  the  most  difficult  people  to  govern 
in  the  whole  empire.  Worshipping  their  Jealous  God  with 
fierce  ardour,  they  could  not  join  in  the  Caesar-worship  which 



was  the  outward  sign  of  loyalty  and  patriotism  throughout  the 
Roman  world.     Moreover  the  Semitic  question  had  already 
begun  to  vex  the  soul  of  Europe.     Throughout  the  East  and 
especially  in  the  trade  centres  such  as  Antioch,  Alexandria, 
and  Cyrene  there  were  already  large  communities  of  Jews  who 
lived  on  the  usual  terms  of  deep-rooted  racial  animosity  with 
their  neighbours.     It  is  only  fair  to  the  Roman  government  to 
admit  that  it  tried  to  conciliate  its  difficult  subjects.     Though 
the  vanity  of  Caligula  led  him  to  accept  the  suggestion  of 
erecting  a  colossal  statue  of  him  in  the  Temple  at  Jerusalem, 
yet  when  the  philosopher  Philo  and  his  fellow-ambassadors  came 
over  to  plead  against  the  outrage  the  emperor  good-humouredly 
remarked  that  if  people  refused  to  worship  him  it  was  more 
their  misfortune  than  their  fault.     As  a  rule  the  Roman  pro- 
curators who   administered  Galilee  and    Judaea  were   almost 
too  tolerant  of  Jewish  fanaticism.     The  Jews  were  exempt  from 
military  service :  their   Sabbaths  were  respected.     A  Roman 
soldier  who  tore  a  book  of  the  law  was  put  to  death.     It  was 
useless  to  argue  with  such  sects  as  the  Zealots  and  Assassins. 
The  Anti-Semite  spirit  broke  out  into  massacres.     In  Caesarea, 
Damascus,  and    elsewhere    the    Gentiles    slew  the   Jews;   in 
Alexandria  and  Cyrene  the  Jews  slaughtered  the  Gentiles.     In 
Jerusalem  the  Romans  had  to  face  violent  discord  between  the 
rival  factions,  and  naturally  they  sided  with  the  more  tolerant 
and  moderate  Sadducees  against  the  stern  Pharisees  and  the 
smaller  sects  of  extremists.     In   A.D.  66   matters    came  to  a 
crisis.     A  Roman  garrison  was  attacked  and  destroyed:  the 
army  which  came  from  Syria  to  avenge  them  was  repulsed  with 
slaughter.     This  occurred  while  the  Emperor  Nero  was  on  one 
of  his  theatrical  tours  in  Greece,  and  in  the  next  year  Vespasian 
was  sent  with  an  army  of  three  legions  and  auxiliaries  which 
increased  its  numbers  to  more  than  50,000.     During  the  death 
of  Nero  and  the  short  reigns  of  his  three  successors,  Vespasian 
was   gradually  subduing   Palestine   and  driving   the   irrecon- 
cilables  before  him  into  Jerusalem.     Vespasian  himself  became 
emperor  and  it  was  left  to  his  son  Titus  to  finish  the  tragedy. 



The  siege  of  Jerusalem  (A.D.  70)  was  one  of  the  most  difficult 
tasks  which  the  Romans  ever  had  to  face.  In  addition  to  its 
natural  strength  there  were  six  lines  of  fortification  to  be  over- 
come one  by  one,  and  each  was  defended  with  all  the  grim 
tenacity  of  which  the  Semite  race  is  capable  when  it  is  on  the 
defensive.  Five  months  the  great  siege  lasted,  and  at  the  end 
Jerusalem  was  a  heap  of  ruins.  Some  of  the  temple  treasures 
were  saved  for  the  Roman  triumph,  and  the  Arch  of  Titus  still 
shows  us  the  famous  seven-branched  golden  candlestick  being 
carried  up  to  the  temple  of  Capitoline  Jove.*  It  is  said  that 
one  million  Jews  perished  in  the  siege  and  100,000  more  were 
sold  into  slavery.  Jerusalem  became  merely  the  camp  of  the 
Tenth  Legion.  All  Judaea  became  one  province,  and  the 
scattered  Jews  were  only  allowed  to  keep  their  privileges  on 
condition  of  registering  their  names  and  paying  a  fee  of  two 
denarii  every  year  for  their  licence. 

But  this  awful  lesson  had  not  quenched  the  fire  of  Jewish 
patriotism  nor  killed  their  hopes  of  an  earthly  Messiah  who 
should  restore  the  kingdom  of  David.  Once  again  under 
Hadrian  there  was  a  Jewish  rebellion  stimulated  by  the  fact 
that  the  emperor  forbade  the  rite  of  circumcision  and  decreed 
the  foundation  of  a  Roman  colony  at  Jerusalem  with  a  temple 
to  Jupiter  on  Mount  Zion.  The  revolt  was  stamped  out  with 
merciless  severity  and  the  Jews  were  scattered  for  ever. 

The  only  other  noteworthy  addition  to  the  Roman  Empire 
was  Mauretania  (Morocco),  which  was  incorporated  as  a 
province  by  Caligula.  The  motive  alleged  was  the  emperor's 
desire  to  possess  himself  of  the  treasures  of  Ptolemy,  its 

On  the  whole,  then,  we  can  see  that  the  Roman  Empire 
had  almost  reached  its  natural  limits.  It  had  seized  as  much 
as  it  could  govern,  and  now,  with  the  exception  of  the  Parthian 
kingdom,  all  that  lay  outside  its  frontiers  was  naked  barbarism. 
So  the  centre  grew  more  and  more  unwarlike,  while  the  legions 
had  little  to  occupy  their  minds  except  the  speculation  whether 

*  Plate  58. 



their  particular  general  had  a  chance  of  the  purple.  For  this 
reason  alone  the  Caesars  were  loth  to  embark  on  conquests, 
unless  like  Trajan  they  were  willing  to  neglect  everything  else 
and  undertake  the  campaigns  in  person.  A  victorious  general 
was  always  to  be  dreaded  by  his  master. 


At  first  sight  the  position  of  the  princeps,  who  was  absolute 
lord  of  this  world,  is  one  of  immense  and  terrible  power.     But 
earthly  power  has  its  natural  limits  in  human  weakness.     The 
weak  or  wicked  emperors  were  generally  the  servants  of  their 
favourites,  male  or  female,  or  they  lived  under  fear  of  the 
legions.     Without  their  bureaux  they  were  helpless,  and  the 
bureaux   in  the  skilled  hands   of   Roman  knights  or  Greek 
freedmen  were  acquiring  the  real  power.     But  it  is  astonishing 
how  much  actual  work  was  done  by  the  more  conscientious 
Caesars.     In  Pliny's  letters  we  see  what  minute  details  were 
referred  by  a  provincial  governor  to   his   master  and  how 
minutely  they  were  answered.     The  answers  may  be,  and  no 
doubt  sometimes   are,   the   composition    of    secretaries,    but 
there  is   a  personal  note   in  them  which  often  suggests  the 
emperor's  own  dictation.     Probably  Trajan  was  exceptionally 
industrious  and  Pliny  exceptionally  meticulous.     Nevertheless 
it  looks  as  if  a  strong  emperor  actually  ruled  this  vast  domain. 
It  is  one  of  the  merits  of  despotism  that  the  monarch's  power 
increases  automatically  with  his   virtues    and    capacity.     A 
Caligula  could  not  do  so  much  harm :  an  Augustus,  a  Claudius, 
a  Trajan,  or  a  Hadrian  might  benefit  millions  of  mankind.     I 
think  it  is  clear  that  they  did  so.     The  insane  work  of  slaughter, 
which  is  all  that  interests  the  ordinary  historian,  had  almost 
ceased.     All  over  the  world  the  markets  were  full,  the  work- 
shops were  noisy  with  hammers,  the  seas  were  thronged  with 
ships,  the  great  highways  busy  with  travellers.     Justice  was 
strong   and   even-handed.      Taxes    were    low    and   equitably 
assessed.     For  the  most  part  men  had  liberty  to  go  their  own 
ways  and  worship  their  own  gods.     From  the  accession  of 


Augustus  to  the  death  of  Antoninus  Pius — and  with  a  few 
intervals  one  might  safely  go  further — the  world  was  enjoying 
one  of  its  golden  periods  of  prosperity.  It  is  unhistorical  to 
look  ahead  and  pronounce  this  happy  world  to  be  already 

Yet,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  idle  to  deny  the  unsound  spots  in 
this  imposing  fabric  of  empire.  The  weakness  was  at  the  centre. 
The  Roman  aristocracy  was  gay  and  splendid,  but  not  happy  or 
secure.  The  ghost  of  the  Republic  still  haunted  her  streets.  To 
make  a  necessary  repetition :  if  Augustus  had  been  succeeded 
by  a  son  as  wise  and  tactful  as  himself,  and  if  the  throne  had 
then  passed  to  a  third  generation  with  the  soldierly  qualities  of 
Trajan  and  the  statesmanship  of  Diocletian,  the  Empire  might 
have  taken  shape  as  a  strong  hereditary  monarchy  with  a  senate 
co-operating  heartily,  and  an  army  obeying  loyally.  But  that 
was  not  fated  so.  Tiberius  was  too  proud  to  play  the  comedy 
as  Augustus  had  done:  instead,  he  made  enemies  of  the 
aristocracy  and  became  suspicious  and  tyrannical.  When 
they  lampooned  and  abused  him,  he  turned  into  a  despot. 
Cremutius  Cordus,  the  historian,  was  executed  for  calling 
Cassius  "  the  last  of  the  Romans."  At  last  Tiberius  withdrew 
himself  in  gloomy  despair  and  left  the  government  in  the  hands 
of  an  unscrupulous  intriguer,  the  knight  Sejanus,  who  still 
further  harried  and  alienated  the  nobles.  It  is  hard  to  know 
the  truth  about  Gaius,  so  palpably  is  his  story  written  by  satirists. 
He  may  have  been  mad.  The  adulation  which  surrounded  the 
Caesars  was  enough  to  turn  the  head  of  a  vain  youth.  He  was 
certainly  extravagant  and  increased  his  unpopularity  by  taxes 
upon  litigants  and  prostitutes.  It  was  the  officers  of  the 
praetorian  guard  who  conspired  to  assassinate  him. 

Claudius  was  chosen  by  the  bodyguard  who  had  murdered 
his  predecessor  and  he  bought  their  allegiance  with  £i  20  apiece. 
He  was  the  uncle  of  Caligula,  but  no  process  of  adoption  had 
lifted  him  into  the  royal  house.  Still  he  was  the  grandson  of 
Livia  and  his  assumption  of  the  name  "  Caesar  "  passed  without 
comment.  Claudius  set  Augustus  before  him  as  his  model  and 


in  all  things  he  was  careful  to  return  to  republican  precedents. 
He  took  the  office  of  censor  for  the  revision  of  the  senate-roll. 
He  increased  the  patriciate,  encouraged  the  State  religion  and 
by  personal  attention  improved  the  administration  of  justice. 
The  cause  of  most  of  the  trouble  during  the  preceding  reigns 
had  been  the  practice  of  "  delation."  Even  under  the  Republic 
criminal  prosecutions  had  been  the  easiest  method  of  obtaining 
political  notoriety.  Tiberius  and  Gaius  had  added  the  motive 
of  pecuniary  gain.  Claudius  now  repealed  the  obnoxious  laws 
of  treason,  punished  the  laying  of  information  and  forbade 
slaves  to  give  evidence  against  their  masters.  By  the  repeal 
of  the  treason  laws  Claudius  had  almost  ceased  to  be  a  monarch, 
and  he  was  careful  to  revive  the  old  legislative  processes  of 
the  republic.  On  the  other  hand,  under  Claudius  the  power  of 
the  bureaucracy  was  greatly  increased,  and  the  affairs  of  the 
Empire  were  principally  conducted  by  the  three  powerful  Greek 

On  the  death  of  Claudius — when  the  emperors  died  in 
their  beds  poison  was  invariably  alleged — Nero  succeeded 
almost  as  a  matter  of  course.  His  mother  Agrippina  had 
secured  his  succession  by  having  him  raised  to  honour  just  as 
had  been  done  for  Tiberius  by  Augustus.  He  had  already 
been  styled  "Prince  of  the  Youth,"  designated  for  the  consul- 
ship and  endowed  with  the  proconsular  power.  There  was, 
however,  a  possible  rival  in  the  young  Britannicus,  and  Nero 
was  chosen  by  the  praetorian  guard  just  as  clearly  as  Claudius. 
During  the  first  five  years,  when  the  young  prince  was  engaged 
in  enjoying  himself  under  the  guidance  of  the  philosopher 
Seneca,  the  senate  had  nothing  to  fear,  and  the  Roman  state 
enjoyed  its  liberty,  but  when  Tigellinus,  the  wicked  prefect  of 
the  guard,  gained  his  evil  ascendancy  over  the  mind  of  Nero 
there  were  some  prosecutions  of  influential  senators  which 
made  the  whole  senate  tremble.  Yet,  even  in  these  worst  days  of 
the  worst  of  emperors,  good  administration  proceeded.  Nero 
himself  made  an  interesting  proposal  for  the  abolition  of  customs 
in  the  Empire  and,  indeed,  may  fairly  be  called  "  The  Father  of 


Free  Trade."  But  the  capitalist  class  succeeded  in  suppress- 
ing the  proposal.  The  duties  on  corn  were,  however,  reduced 
and  the  collection  of  taxes  carefully  regulated.  Charges  of 
extortion  against  tax-collectors  were  given  precedence  in  the 
law  courts,  a  measure  of  justice  beyond  anything  that  the 
modern  state  has  attempted.  It  was  much  more  the  dancing 
and  singing  of  the  p-rinceps  than  the  extortions  of  Tigellinus 
and  the  judicial  murders  of  noblemen  which  caused  the  un- 
popularity which  brought  Nero  to  his  doom.  Among  the 
many  who  fell  victims  to  the  ferocity  of  Tigellinus — for  Nero 
himself  was  probably  harmless  enough — were  two  genuine 
Republicans  of  the  old  school,  men  who  were  genuine  believers 
in  the  Stoic  faith  and  who  kept  the  birthdays  of  Brutus  and 
Cassius  as  annual  feasts.  It  is  probable  that  genuine  opposition 
of  this  sort  was  far  from  rare  among  the  aristocracy  of  the 
Empire.  Writers  like  Lucan  and  Tacitus  were  evidently  in 
sympathy  with  it,  and  though  Thrasea  Paetus  and  Barea  Soranus 
are  famous  for  the  Stoic  deaths  they  died,  yet  they  were  only 
two  out  of  many  who  lived  wholly  on  the  memory  of  the 

Nero's  fall  was  caused  directly  by  the  defection  of  the 
praetorian  guards,  whose  allegiance  had  been  bought  in  the 
name  of  Galba.  Nero  was  the  last  member  of  the  Julio- 
Claudian  family,  and  at  his  death  the  last  shadow  of  dynastic 
claim  passed  away.  The  succession  of  the  principate  became 
a  mere  scramble  in  which  the  strongest  or  the  luckiest  or  the 
heaviest  briber  won  the  day.  Pretenders  sprang  up  against 
Galba,  several  of  the  armies  put  forward  their  generals  as 
competitors  for  the  throne;  and  Galba  himself  had  not  even 
enough  generosity  to  pay  the  bribes  by  which  he  had  secured 
his  throne.  Thus  the  year  69  was  a  year  of  incessant  civil  war. 
Galba  was  murdered  in  the  streets  of  Rome ;  Otho  was  defeated 
in  battle  near  Bedriacum  and  slain  in  his  camp,  Vitellius ;  the 
choice  of  the  legions  in  Germany,  reigned  from  April  to 
December,  when  Rome  was  once  more  occupied  by  a  citizen 
army.  The  legions  of  Syria,  seeing  that  their  fellow-soldiers 

s  273 


of  Spain  and  Germany  had  already  made  their  generals  into 
emperors,  had  determined  to  take  a  hand  in  the  game,  and 
now  Vespasian  came  as  the  fourth  Caesar  in  the  space  of  a  single 

It  speaks  well  for  the  solidity  of  the  imperial  system  as 
organised  by  Augustus  that  it  survived  the  shock  of  such 
events  as  these.  It  proves  that  the  system  was  everything  and 
the  man  little  or  nothing. 

The  new  Emperor  Vespasian,  who  succeeded  after  all  this 
turmoil,  was  different  from  his  predecessors  in  that  he  had  two 
grown-up  sons  ready  to  succeed  him.  It  is  said  that  Mucianus, 
a  still  more  powerful  Eastern  general,  had  surrendered  his 
claims  because  he  was  childless.  If  so,  it  was  nobly  and  wisely 
done.  Vespasian  was  able  and  willing  to  restore  the  machinery 
of  the  Augustan  principate.  He  was  himself  frankly  a  humble 
Sabine  with  no  claims  of  birth.  He  was  firm  but  not  oppressive 
towards  the  senate,  and  he  kept  control  over  the  praetorian 
guard  by  appointing  Titus,  his  son,  to  its  command.  He  also 
established  the  succession  beyond  doubt  by  making  Titus  his 
consort.  Vespasian  and  Titus  were  elected  consuls  year  by 
year.  Vespasian's  principal  work  was  to  restore  the  financial 
credit  of  the  government.  Unfortunately  the  two  sons,  Titus, 
and  then  Domitian,  who  followed  him  upon  the  throne  and 
with  him  make  up  the  "Flavian"  dynasty,  were  scarcely  worthy 
of  their  father.  Titus  was  "  the  darling  of  the  human  race," 
generous  and  mild  to  the  senators,  but  too  fond  of  his  popu- 
larity to  be  a  strong  ruler,  and  Domitian  was  a  genuine  tyrant. 
With  his  autocratic  system  of  rule  he  was  naturally  oppressive 
to  the  aristocracy,  and  his  name  is  in  consequence  written  on 
the  pages  of  history  as  that  of  a  monster  of  cruelty.  Domitian 
certainly  made  constitutional  changes  which  rendered  the 
monarchy  a  more  open  fact.  He  took  the  consulship  for  ten 
years  to  come,  he  became  censor  and  drew  up  the  senate-roll 
to  suit  his  fancy,  he  refused  the  usual  request  of  the  senators 
that  the  emperor  should  admit  that  he  had  no  power  to  con- 
demn a  senator  to  death.  Also  he  openly  spurned  the  proud 


senators  and  permitted  the  servile  modes  of  address  which 
Augustus  and  other  emperors  had  forbidden. 

These  high-handed  proceedings  made  the  senators  hate  and 
plot  against  him.  Plots  were  followed  by  executions,  and 
Domitian  gradually  became  more  and  more  tyrannical.  More 
of  the  Stoic  Republican  party  were  executed,  and  the  odious 
practice  of  delation  came  once  more  into  vogue.  At  last  there 
was  a  successful  plot  organised  in  the  palace,  and  Domitian 
fell  to  the  dagger. 

With  the  three  succeeding  emperors,  Nerva  (96-98),  Trajan 
(98-1 17),  and  Hadrian  (i  17-138),  we  have  a  series  of  genuine 
constitutional  rulers  who  show  the  system  of  the  principate  at 
its  best.  The  excellent  figure  which  these  rulers  cut  on  the 
page  of  history  is  not  wholly  unconnected  with  the  fact  that  we 
have  now  passed  beyond  the  region  illuminated  by  the  satire  of 
Tacitus  and  the  tittle-tattle  of  Suetonius.  Their  deeds  speak 
for  them.  In  Nerva  we  have  the  senate's  choice  of  a  ruler, 
elderly,  blameless,  but  decidedly  weak.  Had  he  not  died  in 
less  than  two  years,  he  could  easily  have  brought  the  throne  of 
the  Caesars  down  to  the  ground.  Knowing  his  own  weakness, 
Nerva  had  adopted  the  foremost  soldier  of  his  day  as  his  heir, 
and  Trajan,  beloved  of  the  soldiers  and  ready  to  purchase  the 
love  of  the  Rome  rabble,  succeeded  without  a  murmur.  He 
spent  most  of  his  reign  in  the  camp.  In  the  camp  he  died,  and 
the  succession  was  by  no  means  clear  when  Hadrian,  a  kinsman 
though  a  distant  one,  had  the  courage  to  seize  and  the  luck  to 
hold  the  imperial  power.  All  these  three  emperors  granted  the 
senate's  claim  that  the  emperor  should  not  have  the  power  to 
condemn  a  senator  to  death,  and  in  some  aspects  the  senate 
seemed  to  have  regained  much  of  its  old  independence.  But 
Trajan  was  too  masterful  and  Hadrian  too  ubiquitous  to  leave 
any  real  scope  for  senatorial  initiative.  It  was  really  under 
these  benevolent  despots  that  the  Dyarchy  ceased  to  have  any 
significance.  As  usual  the  benevolence  of  the  despot  was  the 
most  fatal  enemy  to  liberty.  Not  only  in  Rome  but  even  in 
the  municipalities  of  Italy  politics  were  ceasing  to  have  any  real 



meaning,  and  men  of  standing  had  to  be  coerced  into  taking 
part  in  the  comedy.  The  bureaucracy  of  the  imperial  palace 
now  governed  the  world,  and  the  better  it  governed  the  more 
quickly  did  the  life-blood  of  the  Roman  world  run  dry  in  its 
veins.  We  now  find  imperial  "  curators "  and  accountants 
going  up  and  down  the  provinces  to  set  their  finances  in  order. 
Whenever  there  is  trouble  in  any  corner  of  the  earth,  an  imperial 
"corrector"  travels  down  from  Rome  by  the  admirable  system 
of  imperial  posts  to  set  it  right.  Where,  of  old,  a  local  squire, 
the  patronus  of  the  municipality,  would  leave  a  charitable 
legacy  for  the  maintenance  and  education  of  poor  children,  the 
state  with  its  admirable  system  of  "  alimenta  "  was  beginning 
to  assume  the  responsibility.  The  state  had  its  Development 
Fund  which  made  loans  on  mortgage  at  very  low  interest, 
generally  5  but  sometimes  i\  per  cent.,  to  small  farmers,  and 
the  interest  was  applied  to  orphanages  and  the  education  of  the 
poor.  Nerva  has  the  credit  for  introducing  this  splendid 
system  of  public  charity  and  Hadrian  developed  it.  It  was 
Hadrian  also  who  gave  the  finishing  touches  to  the  organisation 
of  the  civil  service  as  a  close  bureaucracy  entirely  divorced 
from  the  military  profession.  This  service  was  chiefly  in  the 
hands  of  the  knights,  and  it  ranged  in  a  carefully  graded 
hierarchy  of  officialdom  down  from  the  three  principal  Secre- 
taries of  State,  the  Finance  Minister,  the  Chief  Secretary,  and 
the  Minister  of  Petitions,  down  to  the  Fiscal  Advocates  who 
looked  after  local  revenue.  Though  the  Roman  Empire  is 
often  represented  as  groaning  under  the  weight  of  taxation, 
and  no  doubt  the  more  extravagant  emperors  did  amass  heavy 
liabilities,  yet  Hadrian,  who  followed  an  emperor  extravagant 
both  in  warfare  and  building,  was  able  to  remit  about  nine 
millions  sterling  of  arrears  due  to  the  fisc.  He  also  introduced 
a  system  of  periodical  reassessments  and  gave  the  fullest  liberty 
for  his  tenants-in-chief  to  appeal  against  the  collectors. 
Hadrian  it  was,  also,  who  really  introduced  the  system  of 
installing  a  junior  colleague  in  the  Empire,  a  plan  which 
Augustus  had  foreshadowed  in  his  elevation  of  Tiberius.  This 



plan  produced  one  of  the  firmest  dynasties  which  ever  held  the 
imperial  throne,  namely,  the  Antonines,  Marcus  Aurelius,  Titus, 
Antoninus  Pius,  and  Commodus,  who  ruled  from  Hadrian's 
death  in  138  to  192.  The  age  of  the  first  two  Antonines  is  con- 
sidered by  Gibbon  and  many  others  to  be  the  culmination  of  the 
Roman  imperial  system. 

Two  facts  of  very  great  importance  stand  out  from  this 
hasty  review  of  the  principate  during  its  first  two  centuries.     In 
the  first  place,  it  is  still,  in  the  strict  constitutional  sense,  a  com- 
promise.    The  theory  of  the  constitution  had  not  changed  since 
Augustus,  if,  indeed,  it  had  ever  changed.     It  is  still  a  Republic 
— Respublica  Romano, — governed  by  senate,  consuls,  tribunes, 
and  an  intermittent  public  assembly.     There  is,  as  there  nearly 
always  had  been,  a  princeps,  that  is,  leading  citizen,  a  man  raised 
by  personal  eminence  and  prestige  far  above  his  colleagues. 
Certain  powers  are  delegated  to  him  by  the  state.      Above  all 
he  is  master  of  the  legions  because  he  has  consular  or  pro- 
consular authority  over  all  the  provinces  where  troops  are 
stationed.     There  still  remained  certain  theoretical  limitations 
to  his  power.     He  could  not,  for  example,  impose  a  tax  on 
Rome  or  Italy  by  his  own  authority.     But  the  feebleness  and 
sycophancy  of  the  senate  and  magistracy  made  him  actually 
omnipotent.     When   a   certain   senator  was   pointed    out   by 
Caesar's  freedman  as  an  enemy  to  Caesar  the  doomed  man  was 
set  upon  by  his  colleagues  and  stabbed  to  death  with  their  pens 
in  the  senate-house.     It  is  true  that  this  sycophancy  was  not 
altogether  the   fault   of  the   senate.      Under  the    tyrannical 
emperors  like  Tiberius,  Nero,  and  Domitian,  emperors  who  en- 
couraged the  "delator,"  no  senator's  life  was  secure.     At   a 
frown  from  Caesar  it  was  customary  to  go  home  and  open  one's 
veins  after  writing  a  complimentary  will  in  which  one  bequeathed 
everything  to  that  best  of  rulers.     This  sort  of  behaviour  led 
inevitably  to  the  growth  of  the  monarchy.     The  emperor  was 
the  one  person  who  dared  to  act,  and  the  more  capable  and 
well-intentioned  the  ruler,  the  more  closely  were  the  fetters 
riveted  around  the  necks  of  the  Roman  People.     The  silent 



growth  of  bureaucracy,  of  which  the  historians  have  little  to 
tell  us,  but  which  we  can  gather  from  the  inscriptions  of  the 
period,  is  both  the  symptom  and  the  cause  of  this  increasing 
power  of  the  principate. 

In  the  second  place,  it  is  important  to  notice  that  although 
the  city  of  Rome  was  growing  marvellously  in  riches  and 
splendour,  she  was  losing  her  old  domination  in  the  world, 
and  becoming  the  capital  instead  of  the  mistress  of  the  Empire. 
The  magistracies  of  the  city  had  almost  ceased  to  have  any 
importance  except  as  inferior  grades  on  the  road  to  proconsul- 
ships.  Italy  herself  was  sinking  into  the  position  of  one  among 
the  provinces  of  the  Empire,  and  with  the  growth  of  Hadrian's 
centralised  system  of  imperial  administration  even  the  provinces 
were  losing  their  significance  as  units  of  government.  It  seems 
impossible  that  almost  the  whole  of  Europe  and  large  parts  of 
Asia  and  Africa  could  ever  have  been  governed  by  one  man  or 
even  one  bureau.  Yet  it  was  almost  achieved  by  the  Roman 
Empire.  The  world-state  was  almost  a  fact,  and  a  few  more 
Trajans  and  Hadrians  would  have  accomplished  it.  The  city- 
state  idea,  as  a  unit  of  patriotism,  still  flourished.  But  with 
the  great  roads  stretching  like  railways  to  the  four  corners 
of  the  earth,  and  the  imperial  officers  travelling  along  them, 
with  the  legions  massed  along  the  frontiers  and  men  recruited 
in  Spain  sent  to  serve  in  Britain,  the  sense  of  territory,  from 
which  the  modern  state  was  to  arise,  began  to  develop  itself. 


If  the  external  history  of  the  Empire  has  suffered  by  being 
so  largely  in  the  hands  of  the  opposition,  the  intimate  life  of 
the  city  has  been  still  more  distorted  through  being  written 
for  us  by  satirists.  The  humorous  or  venomous  descriptions 
of  Juvenal,  Martial,  and  Petronius  form  our  principal  source  of 
information,  and  Pliny,  who  gives  us  a  very  different  picture 
of  tranquil  and  cultivated  leisure  or  of  useful  activity  carried  on 
in  refined  and  elegant  surroundings,  has  commonly  been  regarded 
as  a  remarkable  exception.  Yet  the  material  remains  are  on 


the  side  of  Pliny ;  and  we  owe  a  great  debt  to  modern  writers, 
like  Dr.  Dill,  who  have  been  able  to  emphasise  this  point. 
Romances  such  as  those  of  Lytton,  Melville,  and  Sienckewicz 
have  embroidered  the  theme  of  Juvenal,  and  everybody  nowa- 
days has  his  vision  of  Imperial  Rome  based  upon  such  fairy- 
tales. It  is  probably  vain  to  attempt  a  refutation  of  the  popular 
view  which  pictures  the  Roman  of  the  Empire  as  exclusively 
spending  his  time  in  the  amphitheatre  watching  the  lions 
devour  the  Christians,  except  when  he  was  supping  on  nightin- 
gales' tongues  from  plates  of  gold.  Moreover  these  things  are 
a  not  unimportant  part  of  the  truth.  Imperial  Rome  remained 
as  bloody  and  brutal  in  its  amusements  as  Republican  Rome. 
In  fact,  as  the  emperors  were  not  only  richer  than  the  old 
senators,  but  also  much  more  carefully  watched  and  bitterly 
lampooned,  so  the  number  of  wild  beasts  slain  at  a  venatio  of 
Trajan  exceeded  the  slaughters  exhibited  by  Pompeius.  Doubt- 
less the  imperial  epicure  Apicius  excelled  the  republican  glutton 
Lucullus  in  the  variety  of  his  menu,  and  the  lascivious  enter- 
tainments of  Petronius  Arbiter  and  his  master  Nero  certainly 
dwarfed  the  attempts  of  Sulla.  At  heart  it  was  the  same 
Roman  People,  enjoying  the  same  stupid  pleasures  and  violent 
sensations  under  circumstances  of  greater  magnificence  and 
refinement.  It  was  a  society  founded  on  slavery,  acknowledging 
no  limits  to  the  free  indulgence  of  pleasure.  But  one  miscon- 
ception must  be  combated.  The  whole  imperial  period  of  five 
centuries  should  not  be  regarded  as  one  slippery  Gadarene 
slope  down  which  the  Romans  were  hurrying  to  destruction. 
Fashions  came  and  went.  Extravagance  was  at  its  height 
under  Nero :  there  was  a  reaction  towards  greater  simplicity 
under  Vespasian.  Under  Trajan  and  Hadrian  life  was  orderly 
and  refined.  Under  M.  Aurelius  philosophy  was  even  more 
fashionable  than  vice.  Nor  was  bloodshed  the  only  form  of 
public  enjoyment ;  the  amphitheatres  often  presented  spectacles 
quite  as  inoffensive  and  much  more  splendid  than  our  modern 
hippodromes  and  circuses.  Chariot- racing,  in  particular,  though 
a  good  deal  more  dangerous  than  the  modern  steeplechase, 



took  its  place  along  with  gladiators  and  beast-baiting  as  the 
popular  sport,  and  the  Romans  showed  as  much  enthusiasm 
for  Coryphseus  and  Hirpinus  as  we  do  for  our  Ormondes  and 
Persimmons.  The  charioteer  Lacerna  had  as  much  vogue  with 
them  as  had  Fred  Archer  with  our  fathers,  and  they  took  sides 
with  the  Prasina  Factio  even  more  seriously  than  we  do  with 
Light  or  Dark  Blue  oarsmen.  The  Romans  had  an  inherited 
taste  for  blood.  There  were  philosophers  who  condemned 
gladiatorial  shows,  but  the  defence  of  the  ancient  sportsman 
was  similar  to  and  perhaps  not  less  true  than  the  modern  fox- 
hunter's  excuse:  the  gladiators  themselves  enjoyed  the  fun 
almost  as  much  as  the  spectators. 

On  the  whole,  apart  from  its  follies,  material  civilisation 
was  steadily  advancing  during  the  whole  period  at  present 
under  review.  In  such  matters  as  transit,  public  health,  police, 
water-supply,  engineering,  building,  and  so  forth,  Rome  of  the 
second  century  left  off  pretty  much  where  the  reign  of  Queen 
Victoria  was  to  resume.  The  modern  city  of  Rome  is  obtain- 
ing its  drinking-water  out  of  about  three  of  the  nine  great 
aqueducts  which  ministered  to  the  imperial  city.  The  hot-air 
system  which  warms  the  hotels  of  modern  Europe  and  America 
was  in  general  use  in  every  comfortable  villa  of  the  first  century 
A.D.  Education  was  more  general  and  more  accessible  to  the 
poor  in  A.D.  200  than  in  A.D.  1850.  The  siege  artillery  employed 
by  Trajan  was  as  effective,  probably,  as  the  cannon  of  Vauban. 

The  city  of  Rome  must  have  been  a  wonderful  spectacle 
under  the  emperors.  One  of  our  modern  international  exhi- 
bitions might  faintly  recall  a  little  of  its  splendours,  with  gilt 
and  stucco  for  gold  and  marble.  Northward  from  the  slope  of 
the  Aventine  Hill  there  was  a  succession  of  majestic  public 
buildings,  temple  beyond  temple,  forum  beyond  forum,  as  each 
of  the  great  emperors  had  added  to  the  work  of  his  predecessor 
and  endeavoured  to  eclipse  it.  At  your  feet  would  be  the 
Circus  Maximus,  where  the  chariot-races  were  held,  and 
behind  it  the  Palatine  Hill  crowded  with  palaces.  To  the  east 
of  it  ran  the  Triumphal  Road  passing  through  the  Arch  of 

The  Roman  Forum  in  the  early  Empire 


Constantine  to  the  Colossus  of  Nero  and  the  mighty  Flavian 
Amphitheatre  known  to  us  as  the  Colosseum.  From  there  the 
Sacred  Way  led  north-west  through  the  Arch  of  Titus  past  the 
Temple  of  Venus  and  Rome  and  the  Basilica  of  Constantine  to 
a  series  of  stately  fora,  opening  one  from  the  other  and  con- 
taining altars,  columns,  arches,  statues,  and  temples  surrounded 
with  shady  colonnades,  whose  cloisters  served  for  business  and 
pleasure.  Above  them  on  the  west  rose  the  ancient  Capitoline 
Hill  crowned  with  its  great  Temple  of  Jupiter  and  immemorial 
citadel.  Picture  these  magnificent  spaces  filled  with  grave 
citizens  in  their  flowing  white  togas,  hurrying  slaves  in  their 
bright  tunics,  visitors  and  barbarians  from  all  corners  of  the 
earth,  trousered  Gauls,  skin-clad  Sarmatians,  mitred  Parthians. 
Every  now  and  then  the  burly  gladiators  swagger  through  the 
crowd  admired  by  every  one,  or  a  procession  of  the  shaven 
begging  priests  of  Isis  passes  by  with  strange  cries  and 
gestures.  Perhaps  the  lictors  come  swinging  down  the  hill 
bidding  every  one  make  way  for  the  slaves  who  carry  the  litter 
of  the  emperor  who  is  on  his  way  to  sacrifice.  Or  fancy  the 
crowd  in  the  Great  Amphitheatre,  which  held  more  than  eighty 
thousand  spectators,  with  the  purple  and  gold  awnings  spread 
to  protect  them  from  the  blazing  sunshine,  the  auditorium  per- 
fumed with  scents  and  cooled  by  fountains,  and  the  arena  at 
their  feet  flooded  with  water  to  present  a  naval  combat.  It  is 
a  city  wrapped  in  profound  peace,  still  dreaming  amid  its 
splendours  that  it  is  the  mistress  of  the  world. 

And  these  signs  of  magnificent  material  riches  were  not 
confined  to  Rome.  Alexandria  would  almost  rival  her. 
Asiatic  towns  like  Ephesus  and  Antioch  presented  a  similar 
appearance  of  luxury  and  opulence.  In  the  north  Lugudunum 
and  even  Londinium  had  a  splendour  of  their  own.  In  Gades 
Spain  had  a  handsome  and  highly  civilised  capital.  The  Roman 
remains  at  Trier  utterly  dwarf  the  comfortable  erections  of  a 
prosperous  modern  town.  Out  in  the  desert  at  Palmyra*  and 
Ba'albek  \  there  were  rising  into  existence  those  huge  buildings 

*  Plate  59.  f  Plates  60,  61,  63,  63. 




which  testify  to  the  industry  fostered  by  the  provincial  govern- 
ment of  the  emperors.  Along  the  sea-coast  of  Campania  there 
were  sea-fronts  of  continuous  villas  whose  marble  fragments  are 
still  washed  up  in  the  Bay  of  Naples.  It  tasks  the  imagination 
of  genius  to  conjure  up  that  glowing  world  of  the  past  out  of 
the  ruined  foundations  which  remain.  Turner's  famous  picture 
of  Baiae  represents  a  successful  attempt  to  do  so.  Pompeii, 
wonderful  as  it  is,  was  only  a  very  small  and  obscure  country 
town.  Yet  it  was  lavishly  provided  with  temples,  baths, 
theatre,  and  amphitheatre. 

On  the  coast  of  North  Africa,  where  nothing  but  man's 
labour  organised  under  a  good  government  is  required  to  make 
the  desert  blossom  as  a  rose,  there  was  a  teeming  population 
which  prospered  on  agriculture.  Timgad  (Thamugadi)  was 
founded  in  the  year  100  as  a  colony  by  Trajan,  and  it  was  the 
head-quarters  of  the  Third  Legion.  Here,  in  the  blank  desert 
of  to-day,  the  French  explorers  have  revealed  porticoes  and 
colonnades,  a  forum,  a  municipal  senate-house,  a  theatre,  a 
capitol,  rostra,  a  triumphal  arch,  baths,  shrines,  and  temples, 
together  with  the  aqueduct  and  fountains  which  alone  made  all 
this  splendour  possible.*  For  public  munificence  this  age  is 
unequalled  in  history.  It  must  have  been  a  very  powerful 
sense  of  patriotism  which  compelled  every  rich  man  to  devote 
so  large  a  part  of  his  fortune  to  the  embellishment  of  his  native 
town.  The  benefactions  of  the  modern  millionaire  seem 
miserly  in  comparison.  Pliny,  who  was  not  a  very  rich  man  as 
wealth  was  accounted  in  his  day,  presented  his  native  town  of 
Como  with  a  library  at  a  cost  of  nearly  .£9000,  and  maintained 
it  with  an  annual  endowment  of  more  than  ^800.  He  offered 
to  contribute  one-third  to  the  cost  of  a  secondary  school,  and 
made  the  wise  provision  that  the  parents  of  the  boys  should 
contribute  the  rest,  in  order  that  they  might  feel  an  interest  in 
the  school  and  take  pains  in  the  choice  of  suitable  teachers. 
He  gave  nearly  ,£5000  more  for  the  support  of  poor  children. 
He  bequeathed  more  than  .£4000  for  public  baths  and  nearly 

*  Plate  64. 



,000  to  his  freedmen  and  for  public  feasts.  And,  as  Dr. 
Dill  has  pointed  out,  the  inscriptions  of  every  municipal  town 
prove  that  this  princely  generosity  and  patriotism  were  by  no 
means  the  exception.  "  There  was  in  those  days  an  immense 
civic  ardour,  an  almost  passionate  rivalry,  to  make  the  mother 
city  a  more  pleasant  and  a  more  splendid  home."  Among  the 
most  princely  of  these  benefactors  was  the  Athenian  Professor 
of  Rhetoric,  Herodes  Atticus,  who  added  a  new  quarter  to 
Athens  in  the  reign  of  Hadrian. 

Perhaps  the  most  remarkable  feature  of  life  in  the  Roman 
Empire  under  the  good  emperors  of  the  second  century  is  the 
growth  of  a  lower  class  with  occupations  and  ideals  of  its  own. 
We  have  already  remarked  that  the  poor  free  Roman  of 
republican  days  scarcely  emerges  into  the  light  except  as  a 
soldier.  But  now  the  inscriptions  show  us  a  happy  and  in- 
dustrious class  of  artisans  and  humble  tradesmen,  grading  down 
through  the  freedmen  to  the  slaves,  many  of  whom  now  lived 
and  worked  under  quite  tolerable  conditions  of  life.  Especially 
noteworthy  is  the  social  tendency  of  the  day.  Every  occupa- 
tion and  craft  was  forming  its  guilds  or  "collegia"  about  which 
the  inscriptions  give  us  full  and  most  interesting  details.  The 
collegia  were  not  quite  Friendly  Societies,  and  still  less  Trade 
Unions,  though  they  undoubtedly  claimed  political  privileges 
and  perhaps  even  made  some  attempt  at  collective  bargaining 
with  the  public.  Sometimes  they  obtained  exemption  from 
taxation.  They  dined  together,  they  had  their  chapels  and 
festivals,  their  colours  and  processions.  They  had  officers 
modelled  on  the  old  Roman  magistracy,  with  senators  as  com- 
mittee and  a  queestor  as  treasurer.  They  had  their  list  of 
patrons  who  were  expected  to  earn  the  honour  by  generosity. 
In  the  main  they  were  burial  clubs.  Even  slaves,  and  even 
gladiators,  the  most  despised  of  slaves,  had  their  guilds  and 
fraternities :  of  course  they  were  regulated  by  the  state. 

As  yet,  in  spite  of  its  growing  centralisation  and  spirit  of 
paternal  despotism,  the  Roman  government  was  true  to  its 
ancient  principle  of  allowing  full  local  autonomy.  The  municipal 


life  of  a  small  Campanian  town  like  Pompeii  afforded  scope 
for  local  ambition  and  a  political  ardour  to  which  the  election 
posters  and  the  inscriptions  scratched  or  scribbled  on  the  walls 
bear  eloquent  witness.*  Sometimes  the  name  of  the  candidate 
is  written  with  the  laconic  addition  v.  6.,  "  a  good  man,"  or  it 
may  be  "  Please  make  P.  Furius  duumvir,  he's  a  good  man." 
But  occasionally  the  commendations  are  more  explicit :  "  a  most 
modest  young  man,"  "he  will  look  after  the  treasury,"  "worthy 
of  public  office,"  and  so  forth.  Sometimes  a  trade-guild 
supports  its  candidate.  Thus  the  liquor  interest  in  politics  is 
already  noticeable  in  A.D.  70.  The  humour  of  the  opposition  is 
seen  in  such  a  poster  as  "  the  pickpockets  request  the  election 
of  Vatia  as  aedile."  And  the  intrusion  of  the  feminine  element 
is  to  be  observed  in  "  Claudium  Hvir.  animula  facit "  ("  His 
little  darling  is  working  for  Claudius  as  duumvir  ").  The  wit 
of  the  Pompeian  wall-scribe  was  brighter,  though  not  always 
cleaner,  than  that  of  his  modern  counterpart.  There  is  the 
proud  inscription  "Restitutus  has  often  deceived  many  girls," 
but  there  are  also  testimonies  of  conjugal  affection  like  "  Hirtia, 
the  Dewdrop,  always  and  everywhere  sends  hearty  greeting  to 
C.  Hostilius,  the  Gnat,  her  husband,  shepherd  and  gentle 
counsellor."  There  is  also  an  interesting  account  from  a 
bakery : 

i  Ib.  of  oil  6d.  bran  gel. 

straw  "j\d.  a  neck-wreath  $\d. 

hay  zs.  oil  gal. 

a  day's  wages  >]\d. 

We  find  advertisements  like  "  Scaurus's  tunny  jelly,  Blossom 
Brand,  put  up  by  Eutyches,  slave  of  Scaurus." 


A  noticeable  feature  of  the  times  was  the  wide  diffusion  of 
education.  Every  one,  it  seems,  could  read  and  write,  even  the 
slaves,  even  the  humble  British  workman.  Many  a  Pompeian 
schoolboy  has  scribbled  a  line  from  Vergil,  or  Ovid,  or 

*  Plates  65,  66. 



Propertius.  Many  an  adult  has  added  his  or  her  original 
compositions.  We  have  seen  in  the  case  of  Pliny  how  the  rich 
men  interested  themselves  in  the  foundation  of  schools,  both 
primary  and  secondary,  for  their  native  towns.  In  the  Greek 
world,  as  maybe  expected,  education  was  most  highly  developed 
and  thoroughly  graded  from  the  elementary  to  the  university 
stage.  For  elementary  schools  the  voluntary  system  was  in 
vogue,  but  it  was  under  careful  public  supervision,  and,  as  we 
have  seen,  the  state  undertook  the  maintenance  of  poor  children, 
girls  as  well  as  boys.  In  contrast  to  the  present  day,  the 
teachers  were  often  held  in  high  honour,  and  many  a  public 
inscription  testifies  to  the  gratitude  of  a  town  towards  its 
schoolmasters.  That  they  also  received  more  substantial 
recognition  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  they  were  often  able  to 
leave  handsome  benefactions  themselves.  They  were  elected, 
sometimes  after  an  examination  or  after  giving  specimen  lessons, 
by  the  local  education  committees,  with  religious  ceremonies, 
and  they  took  an  oath  of  office  on  entering  upon  their  duties. 
They  had  their  unions  and  associations  like  other  professions. 
In  one  inscription  found  in  Callipolis,  "  The  young  men  and  the 
lads  and  the  boys  and  their  teachers"  unite  to  confer  a  wreath 
of  honour  upon  one  of  the  mathematical  masters.  The  teachers 
seem  to  have  been  subject  to  annual  election  or  re-election. 
There  were  also  visiting  masters  of  special  subjects.  The 
Greek  secondary  school  tended  to  lay  much  stress  upon  athletics, 
but  it  gave  more  attention  to  music  and  religion  than  similar 
institutions  of  to-day.  Reading,  writing,  and  arithmetic  together 
with  music,  dancing,  and  drill  were  the  staple  subjects  of  the 
elementary  school.  "Rhetoric,"  which  meant  the  study  of 
literature  on  the  technical  side,  as  well  as  the  practice  of 
declamations,  was  the  main  occupation  in  the  high  schools  and 
the  universities.  But  philosophy,  moral  and  physical,  was  also 
carefully  studied.  University  professors  often  rose  to  real 

In  the  polite  world  of  Rome,  literature  was  extremely 
fashionable.  Everybody  was  writing  and  insisting  upon 



reading  his  compositions  to  his  friends.  These  literary  labours 
were  often  pursued  with  amazing  diligence.  Both  Pliny  and 
his  uncle  devoted  themselves  to  reading  and  writing  almost  from 
morning  to  night,  and  Pliny  the  Younger  tells  how  he  was 
laughed  at  for  carrying  his  notebooks  with  him  even  when  he 
was  out  boar-hunting.  By  the  time  he  was  fourteen  he  had 
written  a  Greek  tragedy.  His  sketch  of  a  day's  doings  at  his 
country  villa  shows  the  literary  perseverance  of  a  Roman 
gentleman.  He  rose  at  six  and  began  to  compose  in  his  bed- 
room. Then  he  would  summon  his  secretary  to  take  down  the 
result  from  dictation.  At  ten  or  eleven  he  would  continue  his 
work  in  some  shady  colonnade,  or  under  the  trees  in  the 
garden,  after  which  he  drove  out,  still  reading.  "A  short 
siesta,  a  walk,  declamation  in  Greek  and  Latin,  after  the  habit 
of  Cicero,  gymnastic  exercise,  and  the  bath,  filled  the  space 
until  dinner-time  arrived."  Even  during  dinner  a  book  was 
read  aloud  and  the  evening  was  enlivened  by  acting  or  music 
or  conversation.  Many  of  Pliny's  friends,  such  as  Suetonius 
and  Silius  Italicus,  emulated  this  studious  existence,  and  his 
uncle  even  excelled  it.  The  elder  Pliny  consulted  two  thousand 
volumes  in  the  writing  of  his  Natural  History  alone,  and  he 
left  one  hundred  and  sixty  volumes  of  closely  written  notes  and 
excerpts.  Nor  was  this  an  unimportant  circle  of  literary  book- 
worms. On  the  contrary,  it  was  the  highest  society  of  the  day. 
The  elder  Pliny  was  on  terms  of  daily  intercourse  with  the 
Emperor  Vespasian,  and  the  younger  Pliny  besides  being 
governor  of  Bithynia  was  intimate  with  Trajan. 

At  first  sight  we  may  find  it  strange  that  all  this  strenuous  de- 
votion to  study  produced  so  little  in  the  way  of  first-rate  original 
literature.  It  'is  of  course  customary  to  ascribe  the  decline — 
assuming  that  it  was  a  decline — of  the  Golden  Age  of  Augustan 
literature  into  the  Silver  Latin  of  Tacitus  and  Juvenal  to  the 
tyranny  of  emperors  like  Tiberius  and  Nero.  It  is  perfectly 
true  that  Tiberius  made  it  dangerous  for  senatorial  historians 
to  praise  the  murderers  of  a  Caesar.  But  that  is  a  ludicrously 
inadequate  explanation  for  the  eclipse  of  literature.  The 



experience  of  Vergil  showed  that  it  was  possible  for  a  great 
loyalist  to  win  fortune  and  glory  amounting  to  idolisation.  The 
senators  who  wanted  to  continue  their  school  declamations 
against  tyranny  were  certainly  discouraged,  but  there  was  still 
plenty  of  room  for  literary  activity.  The  truth  is,  as  we  have 
seen,  that  Augustan  literature  was  not  the  work  of  a  young 
Rome,  but  of  an  old  and  perhaps  already  declining  Graeco- 
Roman  culture.  Again  it  was  literary,  not  political,  causes 
which  led  to  literary  decline.  Tacitus,  who  had  for  his  themes 
the  conquest  of  Britain  and  the  wars  in  Germany  and  the  East, 
the  Siege  of  Jerusalem,  the  burning  of  Rome,  the  tragic  Year 
of  the  Four  Emperors,  the  crimes  and  follies  of  Nero,  and  the 
development  of  the  great  imperial  system,  complains  of  the  lack 
of  interest  in  the  history  of  his  own  times  compared  with  those 
of  the  heroic  past.  The  tyranny  that  depressed  literature 
was  of  its  own  making,  the  tyranny  of  convention,  classicism 
and  erudition.  To  take  poetry,  though  so  many  noble  writers 
were  toying  with  the  epic,  they  only  produced  the  pedantic 
Tkebaid  oi  Statius,  the  weary  Argonauticon  of  Silius  Italicus, 
an  imitation  of  an  imitation  of  Homer,  and  the  Pharsalia  of 
Lucan,  which,  though  it  contains  many  a  brilliant  epigram  and 
memorable  phrase,  is  to  the  majority  of  mankind  almost  un- 
readable. This  is  simply  because  Lucan  was  consciously  pursuing 
the  path  which  Vergil  had  pointed  out  and  producing  work 
which  was  the  logical  succession  to  the  style  of  the  sEneid. 
The  Pharsalia  is  unmixed  declamation,  rhetoric  shouting  at 
top  pitch  on  page  after  page.  Vergil  had  accomplished  the 
literary  epic  to  perfection :  to  carry  it  any  further  in  the  same 
direction  was  to  incur  tediousness.  Above  all,  both  Lucan  and 
Silius  lacked  the  greatest  of  all  Vergil's  gifts,  his  wonderful 
ear  for  verbal  music.  Vergil,  like  Milton,  presented  his  epic 
diluted  for  mortal  ears  with  music  and  human  nature.  It 
was  not  in  the  spirit  that  Lucan  failed.  He  admired  the 
republican  cause  and  Pompeius,  its  champion,  quite  as  sincerely 
as  Vergil  admired  Augustus  or  Milton  Cromwell.  Thus  it 
was  not  politics,  but  the  literary  gift  which  caused  his  failure, 





at  least  his  failure  to  hold  the  ear  of  to-day.  Past  generations 
have  esteemed  him  high  among  the  world's  poets.  Dante 
owed  not  a  little  to  Lucan  and  Statius  as  well  as  to  Vergil. 

It  was  only  in  its  lighter  forms  that  poetry  continued  to 
make  progress.  The  Silvce  of  Statius,  which  were  shorter 
occasional  poems  in  elegiac  or  lyric  measures  thrown  off  at 
odd  moments  with  ease  and  rapidity,  are  far  more  interesting 
than  his  frigid  epic.  Martial,  the  Spanish  writer  of  vers  de 
socittd,  has  a  pretty  wit  that  is  often  surprisingly  modern  in 
its  tone.  Certainly  Juvenal  towers  overfall  others  who  have 
attempted  satire.  Horace  had  been  content  with  an  easy 
familiarity  of  tone  which  might  wheedle  a  friend  into  the  path 
of  good  sense  by  poking  fun  at  his  follies.  Juvenal  thunders 
his  denunciations  of  wickedness  with  a  moral  heat  which  is 
surprising  in  an  age  often  accused  of  feebleness.  He  does, 
however,  resemble  Lucan  in  spoiling  some  of  his  effects  by 
want  of  light  and  shade,  by  a  too-persistent  flow  of  rhetoric. 
He  seems  unable  to  distinguish  between  harmless  follies  like 
playing  the  flute  and  real  delinquencies  like  murdering  one's 
mother.  He  clearly  draws  far  too  black  a  picture  of  the  men 
and  morals  of  his  day.  But  the  pulpit  from  which  he  preaches 
is  a  high  one. 

If  Juvenal  is  supreme  over  the  poets  of  his  time,  Tacitus  is 
as  clearly  monarch  of  the  prose-writers.  He  was  continuing 
the  work  of  Livy  and  writing  from  the  same  republican 
standpoint.  But  for  history-writing  he  had  certainly  discovered 
a  finer  style  of  rhetoric.  Both  are  rhetoricians  first  and 
historians  a  long  way  after,  but  the  packed  epigrams  of  Tacitus 
say  more  in  a  line  than  Livy  is  capable  of  thinking  in  a  chapter. 
In  describing  a  battle,  a  riot,  or  a  panic,  or  in  painting  some 
tragic  scene,  such  as  the  death  of  Vitellius,  Tacitus  is  un- 
equalled. The  freedom  that  was  permitted  to  him  and 
Suetonius  in  depicting  the  crimes  and  follies  of  the  earlier 
Caesars  affords  remarkable  evidence  of  the  freedom  of  letters 
under  Nerva,  Trajan,  and  Hadrian.  Here,  again,  it  is  necessary, 
as  in  the  case  of  Juvenal,  to  beware  of  accepting  too  literally 

T  289 


the  severity  of  his  criticisms  upon  the  preceding  generation. 
To  praise  the  past  at  the  expense  of  the  present  was  one  of  the 
traditions  of  Roman  literature.  But  Tacitus  was  the  last  of 
Rome's  great  historians  and  his  loss  was  irreparable. 

All  the  erudition  of  the  age  added  little  to  the  real  advance 
of  learning  except  in  the  domain  of  law.     Industrious  compilers 
like  Pliny  the  elder   have  preserved  a  great  deal  of  ancient 
lore  for  our  study,  but  they  are  for  the  most  part  utterly  un- 
critical and  unscientific.     There  were  no  scientific  thinkers  like 
Aristotle  in  the  Roman  world.     Still,  some  text-books  which 
served  the  Middle  Ages  for  instruction  were  produced  under 
the  principate,  such  as  Vitruvius  on  architecture,  Strabo  and 
Pomponius   Mela   on    geography,    Columella  on   agriculture, 
Quintilian   on   rhetoric,  and  Galen  on  medicine.     The  latter 
was  state-physician  to  Marcus  Aurelius  and  was  employed  by 
him  to  study  and  combat  the  terrible  plague  which  the  Roman 
army  brought  back  from  the  East.     But  for  medical  science 
he  added  little  to  his  Greek  master  Hippocrates.     In  just  the 
same  way,  the  philosophers  came  no  nearer  to  the  core  of  reality 
than  their  masters  of  the  fourth  and  third  centuries  before 
Christ,  hard  though  they  toiled  and  much  as  they  spoke  and 
wrote.     They  were  indeed  learning,  what  the  old  Greeks  had 
failed  or  scorned  to  learn,  how  to  apply  doctrines  to  life,  but  in 
depth  of  thought  they  were  so  far  behind  that  they  ceased  even 
to  be  able  to  comprehend  Aristotle.     Even  Philo,  the  profound 
and  learned  Jewish  philosopher,  is  doing  little  more  than  to 
attempt  an  application  of  Platonic  and  other  Greek  ideas  to  the 
teaching  of  Moses.     Such  originality  as  there  was  in  the  world 
of  letters  still  proceeded  mainly  from  the  provinces.     Greece 
was  still  putting  forth  original  contributors  to  literature  like 
the  novelist  Lucian,  the  biographer   and  moralist   Plutarch, 
Pausanias    the    guide-book    writer,    Dio     Chrysostom     and 
Apollonius  the  preachers.     Africa  produced  a  novelist  in  the 
mysterious   quack-magician   Apuleius.      Spain   sent    forth   a 
whole  galaxy  of  talent  in  the  two  Senecas,  Martial,  Lucan,  and 
Quintilian.     The  younger  Seneca,  Nero's  complacent  tutor,  is 

o  A 



perhaps  the  most  typical  figure  in  the  literature  of  the  principate. 
Trained  as  a  rhetorician,  like  all  the  men  of  his  day,  his  literary 
work  consists  of  rhetorical  drama  and  rhetorical  philosophy, 
including  some  rhetorical  science.  No  writer  has  ever  attained 
to  such  a  position  of  wealth  and  honour  by  the  exercise  of  his 
pen.  It  cannot  be  said  that  Seneca's  position  was  gained 
without  defilement,  or  that  it  brought  him  happiness.  He  was 
largely  responsible  by  his  weak  compliance  for  the  deteriora- 
tion of  character  in  his  imperial  pupil.  If  so,  it  brought  its  own 
retribution,  for  Nero  drove  him  to  suicide.  Though  Seneca's 
tragedies  are  neglected  to-day,  they  formed  the  connecting- 
link  between  Euripides  and  the  stage  of  the  Renaissance. 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  principal  defect  of  thought  and 
literature  under  the  Empire  was  its  lack  of  originality.  But, 
after  all,  that  had  always  been  the  deficiency  of  Roman  writers. 
It  was  due  very  largely  to  the  overwhelming  incubus  of  Greek 
civilisation,  from  whose  leading-strings  the  Romans,  to  the 
end  of  time,  never  escaped.  That  in  its  turn  arose  chiefly 
through  the  nature  of  their  education  which  turned  all  their  A 
attention  to  style  as  the  end  of  literary  endeavour.  Any  one 
who  would  argue  against  a  classical  education  could  find  no 
better  argument  than  the  relations  between  the  two  "classical " 


With  art  it  is  much  the  same  story;  for  the  decoration  of 
their  villas  and  colonnades  the  Romans  of  the  Empire  con- 
tinued to  prefer  their  statues  imported  from  Greece.  Pausanias 
shows  us  that  Greece,  even  in  the  second  century  A.D.,  was  still 
teeming  with  works  of  art  of  every  kind.  Impoverished  and 
shrunken  as  the  old  Greek  cities  were  at  this  period,  it  shows 
some  high-mindedness  that  they  still  retained  treasures  which 
would  have  fetched  millions  in  the  Trans-Adriatic  markets. 
There  was,  however,  a  brisk  trade  in  copies  and  imitations  of 
the  masterpieces.  For  statues,  then,  the  Greek  work  of  the 
fifth  and  fourth  centuries  almost  destroyed  any  attempt  at 



originality  by  the  Romans.  Only  in  portraiture  was  there 
much  progress,  and  here  work  of  great  power  and  vigour  was 
produced.  It  reaches  the  zenith  perhaps  under  the  Flavian 
emperors,  but  their  successors  of  the  Antonine  period  and  later 
are  often  depicted  on  their  busts  with  triumphant  but  unsparing 
realism.  The  bust  of  Philip  the  Arabian  in  the  Vatican  is 
one  of  the  most  striking.  Sometimes  it  almost  seems  as  if 
there  was  a  malicious  spirit  of  caricature  in  these  too  faithful 
portraits.  Can  Marcus  Aurelius,  the  philosopher  prince,  have 
presented  to  the  world  a  visage  so  weak  and  so  tonsorially 
perfect?*  Can  Caracalla  have  borne  his  bloody  mind  so 
visibly  written  on  his  face  ?  f  In  portraiture,  there  is  certainly 
progress  and  not  decay. 

Otherwise,  to  judge  by  the  remains,  sculptors  were  almost 
confined  to  bas-relief.  This  was  the  medium  chosen  by  emperor 
after  emperor  for  the  narration  of  his  exploits,  and  advances 
were  unquestionably  made  in  the  art  of  pictorial  or  narrative 
sculpture.  That  this  is  a  high  art  in  itself  may,  I  think,  be 
contested.  One  cannot  escape  from  a  sense  of  the  practical 
futility  of  telling  the  history  of  the  Dacian  Wars  on  a  serpen- 
tine band  of  ornament  which  soared  away  out  of  sight.  It  is 
rather  characteristic  of  the  plodding  Roman,  who  so  often  lost 
sight  of  the  wood  in  his  faithful  contemplation  of  the  trees.  If 
we  look  for  the  end  to  which  this  art  of  narrative  relief  was 
tending,  we  shall  find  it  on  the  basis  of  the  column  of  Antoninus 
Pius  preserved  in  the  Vatican  garden.J  These  cavalrymen 
placidly  gyrating  round  the  group  of  standard-bearers,  each  on 
his  own  little  shelf,  are  so  extremely  life-like  as  to  recall 
nothing  in  the  world  so  much  as  pieces  of  gingerbread.  We 
begin  to  perceive  that  Madame  Tussaud  would  have  been 
hailed  as  a  great  creative  artist  in  Imperial  Rome.  Neverthe- 
less, without  subscribing  to  all  the  superlatives  of  Mrs.  Strong, 
we  may  admit  that  Art  was  still  alive  and  vigorous  and  still 
scoring  fresh  technical  triumphs  in  the  Antonine  period  and 
even  later. 

*  Plate  67,  Fig.  2.        t  Plate  68,  Fig.  i.       J  Plate  69. 



Roman  archaeologists  have  recently  worked  out  the  history 
of  Imperial  Art  with  some  precision.  The  reign  of  Tiberius 
continued  the  classical  tendencies  of  Augustus.  Under 
Claudius  there  was  great  constructional  activity,  mainly  of  a 
utilitarian  character.  The  Claudian  aqueduct,  whose  immense 
arches  in  brick  still  break  the  level  horizon  of  the  Campagna, 
is  one  of  the  greatest  works  of  this  period.*  Nero's  was  an  age 
of  Greek  curio-hunting;  much  of  Rome  was  rebuilt  after  the 
great  fire  in  his  reign  and  the  Golden  House  must  have  been  a 
stupendous  sight.  But  on  his  death  the  Romans  made  haste 
to  obliterate  all  traces  of  his  work.  The  Flavian  epoch  was 
the  culminating-point  of  Roman  art.  Vespasian  destroyed 
Nero's  Golden  House  and  restored  the  Capitol.  He  and  his 
sons  built  the  baths  of  Titus,  the  Arch  of  Titus  f  with  the 
celebrated  Jewish  relief,  and  the  mighty  Flavian  Amphitheatre, 
the  Colosseum.  J  This  was  built  in  the  style  already  noticed  in 
the  theatre  of  Marcellus,  namely,  with  the  three  Greek  orders  of 
architecture,  Doric,  Ionic,  and  Corinthian,  adorning  the  three 
stories  of  the  fagade ;  but  here,  as  so  often,  the  Greek  fagade 
is  a  mere  shell  to  hide  the  solid  Roman  masonry  of  which 
the  building  is  really  constructed.  It  is  noteworthy  that 
the  monuments  of  this  |age  refute  the  historians  who  allege 
among  Domitian's  other  sins  that  he  tried  to  destroy  the  works 
and  the  memory  of  Titus,  his  more  popular  brother.  In  the 
technical  language  of  Wickhoff,  this  Flavian  Age  shows  us 
"  illusionism  "  at  its  height  in  art.  Under  Trajan,  and  in  his 
famous  column,  the  art  of  continuous  narration  in  low  relief  is 
fully  developed.§  Hadrian,  the  cultured,  travelling  Philhellene, 
encouraged  a  reversion  to  the  classical  traditions  of  Greek  art. 
The  art  of  his  period  was  profoundly  influenced  by  the  type  of 
Antinous,  a  beautiful  youth  beloved  by  the  emperor,  whose 
romantic  death  by  drowning  in  the  Nile  made  a  powerful 
impression  upon  the  whole  Roman  world,  because  he  was 
believed  to  have  sacrificed  his  life  for  his  emperor's  in  obedience 
to  an  oracle.  This  type  is  preserved  for  us  in  many  forms,  but 

*  Plate  70.     f  plate  71.  Fig-  l  •     I  Plate  72.     §  Plate  73. 



most  notably  in  the  colossal  Mondragore  bust  in  the  Louvre* 
and  the  bas-relief  in  the  Villa  Albani.f  His  features  were 
utilised  to  represent  all  the  young  male  gods  on  Olympus.  In 
their  tragic  beauty  we  see  a  mirror  of  Greece  tinged  by  the 
Orient,  as  if  Dionysus  had  wedded  Isis  and  this  were  the  off- 
spring. The  Antonine  period,  as  exhibited  on  the  panels  in  the 
Palazzo  dei  Conservatori,  is  gifted  with  immense  technical 
fluency  and,  as  Mrs.  Strong  remarks,  a  new  spiritual  serious- 
ness. As  compositions  they  are  superb,  but  the  weakness  of 
expression  in  the  face  of  Marcus  Aurelius  himself  quite  spoils 
their  effect  for  some  spectators.J 

Architecture  was  still  mainly  designed  in  the  three  Greek 
modes  variously  combined,  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  Rome  had 
progressed  far  beyond  Greek  limits  in  constructional  ability. 
Roman  builders  could  manage  a  roof-span  far  in  excess  of  the 
Greeks.  The  Roman  arch  gave  a  strength  in  concrete  vaulting 
which  expensive  marble  was  unable  to  attain.  Roman  brick- 
work denuded  of  the  marble  incrustations  which  generally 
covered  it  of  old  is  probably  more  impressive  in  its  ruins  than 
it  was  when  it  was  draped  with  Hellenism,  and,  to  me  at  least, 
remains  like  the  aqueduct  at  Pont  du  Gard  §  and  the  Bridge  of 
Alcantara  1 1  seem  truer  witnesses  of  the  grandeur  of  Rome  than 
all  the  marbles  in  all  the  museums.  The  celebrated  Castle  of 
St.  Angelo,  which  still  keeps  watch  and  ward  over  the  Tiber,  is 
nothing  but  the  core  of  Hadrian's  tomb — the  Moles  Hadriani 
— once  clad  in  a  vestment  of  Greek  marbles  and  covered  with 
Greek  ornament.^  The  Pantheon,  in  spite  of  the  inscription 
which  ascribes  it  to  Agrippa,  is  proved  by  the  marks  on  its 
bricks  to  be  a  restoration  of  Hadrian's  time.  It  is  indeed  a 
superb  example  of  vaulting  and  a  miracle  of  construction. 
The  plan  is  that  of  a  dome  so  constructed  that  if  the  sphere 
were  complete  it  would  rest  upon  the  earth.  The  magnificent 
interior  has  lost  little  of  its  ancient  splendour.** 

For  temple  architecture,  although  the  Romans  had  adopted 

*  Plate  75,  Fig.  i.     t  Plate  76.     %  Plate  77.     §  Plate  29. 
||  Plate  81.         IT  Plate  82.     **  Plate  45. 

q  u 





the  forms  of  Greek  art  they  had  wholly  deserted  the  spirit  of 
austere  self-restraint  upon  which  that  art  had  rested.  Thus 
they  readily  adopted  the  luxuriance  of  the  East  when  it  came 
to  hand.  In  the  splendid  ruins  of  Heliopolis  (Ba'albek)  and 

Moles  Hadriani :  restored 

Palmyra  we  see  a  riotous  luxuriance  of  ornament  which  would 
have  shocked  the  religious  sense  of  Ictinus,  but  which  fitly 
enshrined  the  ritual  and  mysteries  of  the  Sungod.  This  craze 
for  the  colossal  would  have  made  the  reverential  Greeks 
tremble  in  fear  of  provoking  the  Nemesis  of  a  jealous  Heaven, 
but  in  its  ruins  it  has  left  us  superb  and  awful  reminders  of  the 
riches  and  grandeur  of  its  authors,  and  of  the  end  of  all  riches 
and  grandeur. 

In  domestic  building  the  Romans  had  almost  as  little 
regard  as  the  Greeks  for  the  exterior  elevation  of  their  villas 
and  palaces.  The  Roman  gentleman  still  made  it  his  favourite 
hobby  to  collect  villas,  and  Pliny  had  almost  as  many  as 
Cicero.  But  the  main  idea  of  the  villa  was  comfort,  and  the 



main  idea  of  Roman  comfort  was  coolness,  quiet,  and  beauti- 
ful scenery.  Thus  the  wealthy  man's  house  consisted  of  a 
series  of  marble  courts  and  cloisters  spread  over  the  ground 
regardless  of  space.  Landscape  and  landscape-gardening 
were  the  most  charming  features.  The  Roman  appreciated 
the  scenery  of  Como  or  Sirmione,  Tivoli  or  Naples  quite  as 
keenly  as  the  tourist  of  to-day.  He  thought  much  of  fresh  air 
and  good  water.  Nearly  all  Roman  gentlemen  were  agreed  in 
considering  Rome  itself,  with  its  smells,  its  noise,  and  its 
perils  by  fire,  as  a  pestilent  place  of  abode,  and  they  gladly  fled 
to  their  country  estates  at  Prseneste  or  Baiae.  Hadrian's  villa 
at  Tivoli  *  included  reproductions  of  many  famous  buildings 
which  he  had  seen  and  admired  on  his  travels.  The  decoration  of 
these  villas  encouraged  two  minor  arts  which  figure  prominently 
among  their  remains.  The  floors  were  commonly  adorned  with 
marble  mosaic,  of  which  we  still  have  some  charming  examples,  f 
The  interior  walls  were  incrusted  either  with  marble,  in  the 
wealthier  houses,  or  stuccoed  and  painted.  Hence,  it  results 
that  the  Art  of  Painting  is  represented  to  us  almost  solely  by 
mosaics,  wall-frescoes,  J  and  a  few  portraits  on  Egyptian  mummy- 
cases.  Nothing  remains  of  the  great  masters  of  antiquity, 
Polygnotus,  Zeuxis,  and  Apelles.  But  there  maybe  faint  echoes 
of  their  work  on  the  frescoes  of  Pompeii  executed  by  unnamed 
decorators.  Even  so  there  is  great  charm  in  much  of  this 
work.  Professor  Mau,  the  great  authority  on  Pompeii,  has 
distinguished  four  successive  phases  of  painting  in  that  city. 
At  first  the  aim  was  to  imitate  the  marble  slabs  used  to  cover 
the  walls  of  the  rich  man's  house.  Then  growing  bolder  the 
painter  imitates  various  forms  of  architectural  treatment 
dividing  up  his  wall  space  into  panels  and  portraying  cornices, 
columns,  pilasters,  and  so  forth.  This  is  roughly  the  style  of 
the  first  century  B.C.,  and  it  is  found  in  the  so-called  house  of 
Livia  on  the  Palatine  Hill  at  Rome.§  The  third  style,  which 
Mau  terms  the  "ornate,"  was  prevalent  until  about  A.D.  50. 

*  Plate  83.  •(•  Plate  84. 

I  Plate  85.  §  Plate  89. 




The  architectural  features  now  make  no  pretence  at  illusion. 
The  columns  have  become  mere  bands  of  colour,  and  there  is 
profuse  ornament  everywhere.  The  colours  are  somewhat  cold. 
The  fourth  or  "intricate"  style  once  more  emphasises  the 
architectural  character  of  the  decoration,  but  the  patterns  are 
too  intricate  to  present'any  appearance  of  reality.  The  whole 
wall  space  shows  a  riot  of  fantastic  ornament  often  extremely 
graceful  and  effective.  Flying  goddesses  and  cupids  impart  a 
sense  of  airy  lightness,  and  floral  forms  festoon  themselves  in 
charming  curves.  The  pictures  are  smaller  and  the  spaces 
wider.  No  more  pleasing  treatment  of  the  interior  walls  of  a 
house  has  ever  been  devised,  at  any  rate  for  warm  climates. 
The  destruction  of  Pompeii  by  the  eruption  of  Vesuvius  in  A.D. 
79  brings  the  history  of  ancient  painting  to  a  premature 
close.*  The  subjects  of  the  pictures  are  almost  exclusively 

The  minor  arts  of  the  jeweller,  the  gem-engraver,  the  gold- 
smith reach  a  high  state  of  technical  perfection,  but  they  do 
not  improve  in  spirit  or  artistic  feeling  with  the  progress  of  the 
ages.  Much  of  the  furniture  found  at  Pompeii  and  Herculaneum, 
especially  the  bronze- work,  f  exhibits  most  graceful  forms,  always 
Greek  in  inspiration. 


The  greatest  intellectual  achievement  of  the  Roman  people 
was  in  the  domain  of  law.  The  spiritual  endowment  of  the 
typical  Roman  included  all  the  qualities  of  the  lawyer — a  sense 
of  equity  that  was  quite  devoid  of  sentimentalism,  an  instinct 
for  order,  discipline,  and  business,  a  language  of  great  clarity 
and  precision,  and  above  all,  a  devotion  to  ceremonies  and 
formulae  which  sternly  rejected  abstract  casuistry.  Their  law 
took  its  rise  in  a  series  of  religious  formulae  known  only  to 
priests  and  to  the  king  as  chief  priest.  The  Twelve  Tables  put 
some  of  the  most  ancient  principles  into  words,  and  partly  from 
their  use  as  a  text-book  of  education,  were  regarded  almost  with 

*  Plates  87,  88,90.  f  Plate  91. 



as  much  veneration  as  the  Two  Tables  of  Moses.  They  were, 
in  fact,  sometimes  considered  as  the  sole  fountain  of  juris- 
prudence, or  at  any  rate  as  the  sole  code  of  written  law.  The 
legislative  enactments  of  the  State  were  on  a  far  lower  plane 
and  no  ancient  people  ever  considered  its  legislature  capable  of 
turning  out  a  daily  quota  of  legislation  as  modern  parliaments 
are  supposed  to  do.  In  the  main  the  fabric  of  Roman  juris- 
prudence consisted  of  "  case  law  "  made  by  the  judges  on  the 
tribunals.  The  Praetor  Urbanus  made  the  Civil  Law  of  Rome, 
and  this  became  permanent  by  means  of  the  system  of  Per- 
petual Edicts.  Religion  continued  to  control  the  international 
law  of  the  Roman  world,  an  affair  of  ceremonies  in  the  hands 
of  the  priestly  college  of  heralds — the  jus  fetiale.  But,  mean- 
while, the  pr&tor  peregrinus  who  had  to  decide  cases  between 
non-citizens  was  gradually  accumulating  a  body  of  law,  wrongly 
termed  international,  in  the  jus  gentium.  It  was  observed 
that  there  was  a  great  deal  in  common  between  the  various 
codes  of  the  Italian  and  other  Mediterranean  States,  and  this 
was  put  together  in  the  foreign  praetor's  edict.  The  more 
philosophical  jurists,  inspired  with  the  Stoic  doctrines  about 
following  nature,  evolved  the  theory  that  this  common  element 
of  various  nations  was  nothing  but  the  Natural  Law,  jus 
natures.  It  was  a  fruitful  error,  and  it  lies  at  the  base  of 
much  of  the  modern  "international  law"  as  expounded  by 
Grotius  and  other  seventeenth-century  jurists. 

The  Civil  Law  of  Rome  was  in  the  main,  then,  a  series  of 
precedents  handed  down  by  praetor  to  praetor  from  times  beyond 
record.  To  it  was  added  a  large  body  of  "  counsel's  opinions  " 
which  drew  their  validity  largely  from  the  eminence  of  their 
authors.  It  was  Hadrian  who  set  about  the  systematisation  of 
these.  He  organised  the  jurisprudentes  into  a  regular  pro- 
fession. He  appointed  his  "  counsellors  "  from  the  leading 
barristers  of  the  day,  and  he  gave  to  the  whole  body  of  res- 
ponsa  prudentium,  "the  opinions  of  the  learned,"  the  validity 
of  statutory  law.  The  justice  and  precision  of  the  civil  law 
was  the  most  attractive  feature  of  Roman  civilisation  to  the 


barbarian  world.  Gallic  and  British  communities  made  haste 
to  learn  Latin  in  order  that  they  might  gain  the  "  Latin  right" 
which  admitted  them  to  the  privilege  of  enjoying  Roman 
law.  In  A.D.  212,  Caracalla,  who  did  little  else  to  deserve 
the  gratitude  of  posterity,  uttered  a  single  edict  called  the 
"  Antonine  Constitution  "  which  admitted  the  whole  empire  to 
the  privileges  of  Roman  citizenship.  Now  a  single  code  ran 
throughout  the  whole  Western  world.  Hadrian  had  set  his 
most  distinguished  lawyers,  under  the  leadership  of  Salvius 
Julianus,  to  codify  the  "perpetual  edict"  of  the  praetors.  It 
was  under  the  Antonines  that  some  citizen  from  the  East,  who  is 
only  known  to  us  by  the  common  praenomen  of  Gaius,  wrote 
those  learned  "  Institutes  of  Roman  Law "  which  are  still  the 
nursery  of  our  lawyers.  But  it  was  the  great  Eastern  emperor 
Justinian  (A.D.  527-565)  who  codified  the  whole  body  of  civil 
law  in  a  series  of  immense  documents.  Roman  law  had  already 
conquered  its  barbarian  conquerors,  the  Goths,  and  almost 
every  European  legal  system  except  our  own  is  based  upon 
that  ancient  law  which  arose  from  the  Twelve  Tables  and  the 
praetor's  edict.  The  canon  law  of  the  Church  was  Roman  law 
in  its  essence. 


Much  attention  has  been  paid  in  recent  years  to  the  religious 
development  of  the  Romans  under  the  Empire,  and  to  the 
momentous  conflict  of  religions  which  was  going  on  from  the 
age  of  Hadrian  until  the  final  triumph  of  Christianity. 
Humanly  speaking,  it  was  "touch  and  go"  between  several 
religions  competing  for  the  vacant  place  in  the  faith  of  the 
Empire,  and  at  the  last  the  strife  was  practically  narrowed 
down  to  a  duel  between  two  oriental  monotheistic  systems, 
Mithraism  *  and  Christianity.  The  subject  is  too  vast  for  any- 
thing  like  adequate  treatment  here.  But  I  would  emphasise 
one  point  of  view  which  is  often  overlooked. 

The  Roman  state  is  too  often  regarded  merely  as  the  enemy 

*  Plate  92. 



and  persecutor  of  the  Christian  religion.  It  is  forgotten  how 
large  a  share  Rome  may  claim  in  its  establishment.  Not  only 
did  the  Romans  discover  Christianity,  but  they  organised  it 
and  sent  it  forth  conquering  and  to  conquer  in  the  wake  of  the 
legions.  It  is  not  a  case  of  a  wicked  and  corrupt  people 
suddenly  converted  in  the  midst  of  its  sins.  On  the  contrary 
it  is  easy  to  show  that  the  thinkers  of  the  Roman  Empire  were 
tending  towards  philosophic  and  religious  ideas  which  made 
them  ready  to  accept  with  astonishing  rapidity  both  the  ethical 
teaching  and  the  theological  revelations  of  the  Son  of  God. 
It  is  unnecessary  to  remind  the  modern  reader  how  large  a  part 
the  Greek  philosophy  of  Stoicism  with  its  Roman  modifications 
had  played  in  shaping  the  thoughts  of  one  Roman  citizen,  Paul 
of  Tarsus.  Philo,  the  Alexandrian  Platonist,  had  developed 
a  doctrine  of  the  Divine  Logos,  which  profoundly  influenced 
the  philosophy  of  the  fourth  Evangelist,  and  through  him  the 
whole  course  of  Christian  teaching. 

The  Romans  may  have  added  little  to  abstract  philosophy 
or  to  metaphysics,  but  they  made  the  somewhat  barren  abstrac- 
tions of  Zeno  the  Stoic  into  something  more  than  a  philosophy, 
into  a  faith  which  had  a  power  to  influence  conduct  far  beyond 
the  power  of  the  State  system  of  half-Greek  Olympian  Gods. 
If  the  power  and  the  sincerity  of  a  religion  may  be  tested 
rather  by  its  martyrs  than  by  its  proselytes,  Stoicism  had  a 
worthy  record.  Men  like  Thrasea  Paetus,  Helvidius  Priscus,  and 
Barea  Soranus  were  facing  the  tyrant's  frown  for  the  sake  of 
their  Stoic  sense  of  duty,  just  as  truly  as  Peter  and  Polycarp. 

The  attitude  of  the  Roman  Government  towards  Christianity 
has  been  too  often  explained  to  need  more  than  a  brief  re- 
capitulation. At  first  Christianity  was  confounded  with 
Judaism,  which  had  already  begun  to  make  converts  at  Rome 
without  seeking  for  them.  The  Roman  government  was  ex- 
traordinarily tolerant  towards  creed,  but  it  demanded  an 
external  compliance  with  the  Caesar-worship,  which  it  was 
imposing  on  the  provinces  as  a  test  of  loyalty.  But  the 
Christians  did  not  take  the  divine  command  "render  unto 




t— i 







i— i 





Csesar  the  things  that  are  Caesar's  "  to  include  scattering  incense 
on  his  altars.  Too  many  of  them  had  been  brought  up  in  the 
punctilious  exclusiveness  of  the  Jewish  tradition  for  them  to 
display  on  such  points  the  laxity  which  is  sometimes  called 
broad-mindedness.  Even  in  the  private  intercourse  of  social 
life  the  Christians  were  unpleasantly  apt  to  insist  upon  their 
scruples.  The  meat  in  the  butchers'  shops  had  often  been 
slain  in  sacrifice,  and  the  Christian  conscience  revolted  at 
"  meat  offered  to  idols."  The  libation  with  which  the  wine- 
cup  started  on  its  rounds  was  another  offence  to  the  tender 
monotheistic  conscience.  These  things  made  the  Christians 
unpopular.  Their  close  associations,  their  secret  meetings  and 
love-feasts,  the  communism  which  they  practised,  all  aroused 
the  suspicions  which  are  begotten  of  mystery.  Lastly,  their 
conviction  that  the  Second  Coming  and  the  Day  of  Judgment 
were  at  hand  made  them  ardent  proselytes.  It  made  them 
utter  prognostications  of  death  and  damnation  to  all  around 
them,  and  to  see  apocalyptic  visions  of  the  fall  of  the  kingdoms 
of  this  earth.  Such  prophecies  were  sometimes  misunderstood 
as  involving  treasonable  designs.  The  first  persecution  under 
Nero  was  largely  the  result  of  such  suspicions. 

But  the  official  attitude  of  the  permanent  Roman  Govern- 
ment is  probably  revealed  in  the  famous  correspondence  between 
Pliny  and  his  emperor,  Trajan.  Imperial  Rome  is  not  to  set  up 
an  inquisition.  No  man  is  to  be  punished  for  his  faith,  but  if  he 
is  accused  to  the  governor  and  is  obstinate  in  refusing  to  pay 
the  obeisance  demanded  by  the  state  he  is  to  be  punished  for 
his  contumacy.  That  is  precisely  the  attitude  which  the  most 
humane  and  enlightened  Christian  states  have  adopted  towards 
heresy.  Later,  when  the  Faith  grew  in  importance,  and  when 
it  even  reached  the  point  of  soldiers  refusing  the  military  oaths, 
occasional  emperors,  often  the  better  emperors,  strove  to  fight 
against  it.  Then  there  were  sometimes  inquisitions  and  whole- 
sale martyrdoms  as  under  Decius  and  Diocletian.  But  no 
martyrdom,  however  public  or  agonising,  could  quench  the 
faith  of  those  who  saw  the  heavens  opening  and  the  Angels  of 



God  descending  with  their  crowns  of  glory.  The  publicity  of 
the  scenes  and  the  constancy  of  the  victims  increased,  as  usual, 
the  number  of  the  converts.  Foolish  magistrates  sought  to 
encounter  obstinacy  with  further  severity,  and  the  Faith  only 
grew  the  more  abundantly.  It  was  not  so  much  his  personal 
conversion — for  that  was  tardy  and  half-hearted — as  the 
motive  of  policy  to  secure  an  advantage  over  Maxentius,  which 
induced  Constantine  to  promulgate  the  Edict  of  Milan  in  313, 
by  which  toleration  was  extended  to  the  Christian  faith  through- 
out the  Roman  Empire. 

We  must  not  be  surprised  that  the  best  emperors,  including 
the  philosopher  and  saint,  Marcus  Aurelius,  were  the  most 
bitterly  hostile  to  Christianity.  That  is  human  nature.  Stoic 
philosophers  were  teaching  very  much  in  common  with 
Christian  philosophy,  but  that  renders  it  all  the  less  likely  that 
Stoic  philosophers  should  be  among  the  converts.  Neverthe- 
less Christian  doctrine,  especially  in  the  Greece-Jewish  com- 
munities of  Asia  Minor,  was  falling  on  prepared  soil.  The  Stoic 
paradoxes  had  undoubtedly  prepared  the  way  for  the  Christian 
paradoxes.  The  doctrines  of  humility  and  asceticism  were  a 
commonplace  of  the  Cynics.  "  No  Cross,  no  Crown,"  "  He 
who  would  save  his  life  must  lose  it " — such  sayings  as  these 
would  gain  immediate  assent  from  thoughtful  Romans. 
Epictetus,  a  heathen  slave  of  Domitian's  day,  wrote  his  answer 
to  the  tyrant :  "  No  man  hath  power  over  me.  I  have  been 
set  free  by  God.  I  know  His  Commandments ;  henceforth  no 
man  can  lead  me  captive."  The  Stoics  were  daily  teaching 
that  it  is  hard  for  a  rich  man  to  enter  into  the  Kingdom  of 
God.  This  is  the  creed  of  Marcus  Aurelius :  "  To  venerate 
the  gods  and  bless  them,  and  to  do  good  to  men,  and  to 
practise  tolerance  and  self-restraint."  The  horrors  of  the 
amphitheatre  are  one  side  of  imperial  society.  But  on  the 
other  side  Musonius  Rufus,  a  Stoic  who  stood  high  in  the 
favour  of  Vespasian  and  Titus,  went  among  the  soldiers  to 
preach  against  militarism.  Slave-drivers  as  the  Romans  were, 
they  were  beginning  to  feel  a  sense  of  the  brotherhood  of  man. 

3  o  " 


Seneca  was  calling  the  slaves  "  humble  friends."  "  Man  is  a  holy 
thing  to  man,"  he  says ;  and  such  teaching  was  reflected  even 
in  the  legislation  of  the  day.  Juvenal  pleads  passionately  for 
kindness  to  slaves  and  for  moral  purity  in  the  home.  Seneca 
not  only  feels  that  men  are  brothers,  but  that  God  is  the 
Father  of  us  all.  We  have  seen  how  public  charity  was 
finding  expression  in  the  alimenta  and  the  free  schools.  "  Love 
them  that  hate  you"  would  not  strike  the  Romans  of  the 
second  century  as  anything  more  than  a  strong  expression  of 
the  truth  they  had  already  begun  to  recognise.  Thus  the 
practical  side  of  Christian  ethics  found  its  harmonies  in 
the  conduct  as  well  as  the  theory  of  the  more  enlightened 
pagans.  Peace  and  humanitarianism  were  in  the  air  of  the 
Antonine  Age. 

As  for  religious  dogma  the  whole  tendency  of  thought  was 
towards  monotheism.  "God  is  a  Spirit"  would  find  an 
instant  acquiescence  among  educated  Romans,  even  though 
they  frequented  the  temples  of  a  hundred  different  gods. 
Philosophy  among  Greeks  and  Romans  alike  had  always  been 
monotheistic.  On  the  subject  of  immortality  the  philosophers 
were  divided.  Marcus  Aurelius  and  Seneca  are  on  the  whole 
not  hopeful.  Probably  the  beliefs  of  the  common  folk — as 
testified  in  the  epitaphs  of  their  cemeteries — were  equally 
divided.  The  laconic  epitaph :  "  I  was  not,  I  was :  I  am  not, 
I  care  not,"  is  common.  But  other  epitaphs  equally  common 
express  the  hope  of  reunions  in  the  other  world  or  even  of 
being  "  received  among  the  number  of  the  gods."  But  on  the 
whole  the  commonest  view  of  Death  was  as  a  happy  release 
and  an  unending  sleep.  It  was  the  immediate  hope  of  eternal 
bliss,  which  was  the  greatest  thing  that  Christianity  had  to 
offer  to  the  pagan  world. 

Rome,  then,  was  in  many  ways  prepared  for  the  reception 
of  Christianity,  whose  doctrines  found  an  echo  in  the  aspirations 
of  the  day.  She  did  much  to  give  to  Christian  theology  its 
Western  form,  and  of  course  the  ritual  and  practice  of  the 
Roman  Church  was  in  many  ways  merely  a  continuation  of  old 



pagan  rites  and  ceremonies.  Ancient  deities  became  Christian 
saints  without  change  of  rite  or  cult;  images  were  often  adapted 
and  even  names  scarcely  altered.  But,  in  fact,  the  whole  con- 
ception of  that  mighty  Church  which  conquered  the  world, 
including  the  barbarian  invaders,  was  the  offspring  of  the 
Roman  political  system.  It  was  her  genius  for  statecraft  which 
made  Rome  the  Eternal  City.  In  one  form  or  another  she  has 
governed  the  world  for  twenty  centuries. 




Musae  quid  facimus  ?   ri  <evaia-iv  tv  An-to-tv 
udimus  dtppaSlr/friv  iv  T\jiari  •yrjpaa-KovTes ; 
SavroviKois  campouriv,  onrj  <pvos  &arircTov  iirrlv, 
erramus  gelido-rpo/«/>oi  rigidique  poetse. 


SHOULD  have  preferred  to  leave  the  Roman  world  at 
the  height  of  its  grandeur,  when  the  whole  vast  terri- 
tory was  enjoying  prosperity,  if  not  peace,  under  the 
virtuous  and  benevolent  Antonines.  In  that  way  this 
book  would  best  create  the  true  impression  of  Rome, 
not  as  a  lamentable  failure,  but  as  the  conspicuous 
success  which  it  assuredly  was.  But  as  the  reader 
will  probably  follow  the  old  Greek  maxim  and 
desire  to  see  the  end  before  recording  a  judgment, 
a  few  pages  are  added  containing  a  very  brief 
summary  of  the  closing  scenes.  It  is  necessary  to 
notice  that  even  the  closing  scenes  cover  a  period 
of  two  hundred  years,  and  that  this  progress  is  not 
even  yet  entirely  downhill.  They  include  good  and 
bad  reigns,  periods  of  prosperity  as  well  as  disaster. 
Here  again  the  impression  of  pessimism  which  we  get  from 
reading  the  account  of  the  Empire  is  due  to  the  historians  as 
much  as  to  the  history.  Lampridius  and  the  other  writers  of 
the  Augustan  History  are  small-minded  writers  who  label  the 
various  princes  as  good  or  bad  largely  according  to  their 
treatment  of  the  senate.  The  Augustan  historians  are  trained 
in  the  school  of  Suetonius,  they  dwell  upon  gossip  and  can 
form  no  large  political  judgments.  Very  little  of  the  gossip  is 
authentic.  If  they  have  decided  to  revile  an  emperor  they 

u  305 


repeat  the  scandals  narrated  by  Suetonius  about  Tiberius  or 
Nero.  It  is  only  in  their  accounts  of  military  action  that  they 
can  be  trusted,  and  this  fact  creates  a  false  preponderance  of 
warfare  in  the  annals  of  the  period. 

The  succession  to  the  imperial  throne  continued  to  be  the 
weak  point  of  the  whole  system.  The  throne  itself  passed  through 
unspeakable  degradations.  The  guards  who  murdered  Pertinax 
formally  put  the  succession  up  to  auction  in  the  praetorian  camp. 
Septimius  Severus  (193-198)  gave  a  brief  respite  of  strong 
government  which  almost  destroyed  the  fiction  of  senatorial 
authority,  for  Severus  held  the  proconsular  power  even  over 
Rome  and  Italy.  Caracalla  was  probably  the  worst  of  all  the 
emperors  in  personal  vice  and  brutality,  but  he  was  the  author 
of  that  famous  decree  which  conferred  the  citizenship  on  all  the 
western  provinces.  In  Elagabalus  (218-222)  Rome  had  for 
master  the  vile  and  effeminate  priest  of  the  Sungod,  who 
brought  the  fetish-stone  of  Emesa  into  the  city  and  attempted 
to  make  all  the  gods  bow  down  to  it.  Alexander  Severus  was 
a  blameless  prince,  and  Maximin  the  Thracian  drove  the 
barbarians  back  behind  the  Unities  of  the  Rhine  and  Danube. 
After  the  Gordians  the  senate  enjoyed  for  a  brief  space  the 
opportunity  of  governing  Rome  through  their  nominee 
Pupienus,  but  the  disorders  of  the  period  may  be  gauged  from 
the  fact  that  in  the  eighteen  years  following  Alexander  Severus, 
who  died  in  235,  twelve  persons  wore  the  purple.  Then 
Gallienus  assumed  it,  having  for  his  colleague  that  Valerian 
who  was  the  first  of  Roman  emperors  to  be  taken  prisoner  by 
the  enemy.  Strange  and  horrible  tales  hung  about  his 
mysterious  fate  when  taken  captive  by  Shapur,  the  Persian 
king.  In  the  latter  years  of  Gallienus  the  Empire  was  practi- 
cally divided,  for  his  rebellious  general  Postumus  was  recognised 
as  emperor  throughout  Gaul,  Spain,  and  Britain.  In  this 
period,  too,  Palmyra  rose  into  independent  power  as  the  meeting- 
place  of  the  caravan  routes  across  the  Syrian  plains.  Under 
the  famous  Queen  Zenobia  it  practically  ruled  over  the  eastern 
parts  of  the  Empire,  and  its  splendid  ruins  prove  its  wealth  and 


magnificence.  Gallienus  then  almost  allowed  the  Empire  to 
disintegrate  under  his  feeble  grasp,  but  his  successor  Claudius 
Gothicus  (268)  was  a  man  and  a  soldier.  He  smote  the  Goths 
and  would  have  restored  the  Empire  in  full,  but  the  plague, 
which  had  never  wholly  disappeared  since  the  time  of  Marcus 
Aurelius,  carried  him  off  in  the  third  year  of  his  reign.  The  task 
was  left  for  Aurelian,  that  Pannonian  peasant  whose  brilliant 
generalship  hurled  back  the  enemy  on  every  side,  while  his 
statesmanship  restored  the  authority  of  the  emperor  and  even 
the  financial  credit  of  the  Empire.  The  mighty  wall  with 
which  he  surrounded  Rome  is,  however,  a  sad  testimony  of  the 
dark  days  upon  which  the  imperial  city  had  fallen.  The 
Palmyrene  kingdom  was  defeated  and  the  rich  city  plundered. 
The  rebel  Empire  of  the  Gauls  was  destroyed  for  ever.  The 
grandest  triumph  ever  witnessed  in  Rome  was  that  of  Aurelian 
in  274.  It  is  thus  described  by  Vopiscus : 

"There  were  three  royal  chariots.  One  was  that  of 
Odenathus,  brilliant  with  jewellery  in  gold,  silver,  and  gems; 
the  second,  similarly  constructed,  was  the  gift  of  the  Persian 
king  to  Aurelian ;  the  third  was  the  design  of  Zenobia  herself, 
who  hoped  to  visit  Rome  in  it.  Wherein  she  was  not  deceived, 
for  she  entered  the  city  in  it  after  her  defeat.  There  was 
another  chariot  yoked  to  four  stags,  which  is  said  to  have 
belonged  to  the  king  of  the  Goths.  On  this  Aurelian  rode  to 
the  Capitol,  there  to  sacrifice  the  stags  which  he  had  vowed  to 
Jupiter  the  Highest  and  Mightiest.  Twenty  elephants  went 
before,  tamed  beasts  of  Libya  and  two  hundred  different  beasts 
from  Palestine,  which  Aurelian  immediately  presented  to 
private  individuals  in  order  that  the  treasury  might  not  be 
burdened  with  their  maintenance.  Four  tigers,  giraffes,  elks, 
and  other  creatures  were  led  in  procession.  Eight  hundred 
pairs  of  gladiators,  as  well  as  captives  from  the  barbarian 
tribes,  Blemyes,  Axiomitae,  Arabs,  Eudsemones,  Ludians, 
Bactrians,  Hiberi,  Saracens,  Persians,  all  with  their  various 
treasures;  Goths,  Alani,  Roxolani,  Sarmatians,  Franks,  Suevi, 
Vandals,  Germans  advanced  as  captives  with  their  hands 
bound.  Among  them  also  were  the  Palmyrene  chiefs,  who 
survived,  and  the  Egyptian  rebels.  Ten  women  whom  Aurelian 
had  taken  fighting  in  male  attire  among  the  Goths  were  in  the 



procession,  while  many  of  these  '  Amazons '  had  been  slain. 
In  front  of  each  contingent  a  placard  bearing  the  name  of  the 
tribe  was  carried.  Among  them  was  Tetricus  (the  '  emperor ' 
of  the  Gallic  Empire)  in  a  scarlet  cloak,  a  yellow  tunic,  and 
Gallic  breeches.  There  walked  Zenobia  too,  laden  with  jewels 
and  chained  with  gold  chains  which  others  carried.  In  front 
of  the  conquered  princes  their  crowns  were  borne  along  labelled 
with  their  names.  And  next  the  Roman  People  followed,  the 
banners  of  the  guilds  and  camps,  the  mailed  soldiers,  the  royal 
spoils,  the  whole  army  and  the  senate  (although  it  was  saddened 
to  see  that  some  members  of  its  body  were  among  the  captives) 
added  much  to  the  splendour  of  the  show.  It  was  not  until 
the  ninth  hour  that  the  Capitol  was  reached,  and  the  palace 
much  later." 

Aurelian  endeavoured  to  establish  Mithraism  as  the  state 
religion,  and  earned  the  gratitude  of  the  vulgar  by  supple- 
menting the  free  supply  of  corn  with  a  daily  ration  of  pork. 
Oil  and  salt  were  given  gratuitously,  and  he  even  prepared 
to  supply  free  wine.  The  three  emperors  who  succeeded 
Aurelian,  Tacitus,  Probus,  and  Carus,  were  men  of  good 
character,  and  the  first  two  were,  once  more,  the  nominees 
of  the  senate. 

Throughout  this  troubled  age  the  causes  of  confusion  were 
twofold.  On  the  one  hand  the  Empire  itself  was  so  vast  and 
scattered  that  it  tended  now  to  fall  to  pieces  of  its  own 
momentum,  as  the  seedbox  opens  to  scatter  its  seeds.  Britain, 
Gaul,  Germany,  Palmyra — each  in  its  turn  began  to  feel  a 
unity  of  its  own.  Rome  was  far  away,  and  the  government 
was  often  weak  and  negligent.  Here  was  an  opportunity  for 
the  local  generals  to  carve  out  thrones  for  themselves.  While 
the  emperor  hurried  this  way  and  that  fresh  rebellions  broke 
out  in  his  rear.  It  was  no  one's  fault  in  particular.  The 
world-state  was  impossible  in  theory  as  in  practice.  It  was 
only  possible  while  the  provinces  were  barbarian.  When  they 
became  civilised  and  self-conscious  they  were  bound  to  feel 
their  natural  unity. 

In  the  second  place,  the  barbarians  were  now  grown  to  full 


stature.  They  were  no  longer  quarrelsome  tribes  which  could 
be  turned  against  one  another  by  adroit  statecraft,  but  nations 
much  less  barbarous  than  of  old,  with  some  organisation  and  a 
purpose  above  that  of  mere  plunder.  No  artificial  ramparts 
could  hold  them.  It  is  very  doubtful  whether  even  the  legions 
of  Rome  at  their  best  could  have  resisted  these  repeated 
assaults  on  all  sides.  The  first  great  inroad  across  the  Danube 
took  place  in  the  reign  of  M.  Aurelius.  It  was  crushed,  as  the 
column  of  that  emperor  depicts,  and  Sarmatia  and  Mar- 
comannia  were  added  as  short-lived  provinces.  It  is  in  the 
third  century  that  we  begin  to  hear  of  the  greater  barbarian 
nations,  or  groups  of  tribes,  of  the  Alemanni  and  the  Suevi,  the 
Franks,  the  Saxons,  the  Goths,  and  the  Vandals.  Battle  after 
battle  was  fought  and  triumph  after  triumph  won  against  them, 
but  they  still  pressed  on.  The  weaker  emperors  essayed  to 
buy  them  with  gold,  the  wiser  with  land,  the  craftier  set  them 
to  slay  one  another,  but  still  they  moved  forward  resistlessly, 
wave  after  wave,  like  the  sea.  This  again  was  nobody's  fault. 
It  may  have  been  the  movement  of  Tartar  savages  in  the  Far 
East  which  set  the  Wandering  of  the  Nations  in  motion. 
Whatever  it  was,  all  eastern  and  northern  Europe  was  seething 
with  restless  movement  and  the  tide  rolled  on  irresistibly 
against  the  bulwarks  of  civilisation.  Triumphs  as  great  and 
glorious  as  those  of  Scipio  and  Marius  were  gained  by  Roman 
armies  even  in  the  fourth  century.  But  the  enemy  was  ubiquitous, 
the  task  impossible. 

It  is,  however,  true  that  those  bulwarks  were  weaker  than 
they  should  have  been,  partly  by  reason  of  the  internal  dis- 
organisation caused  by  perpetual  struggles  for  the  succession, 
and  partly  through  certain  visible  errors  in  Roman  statesman- 
ship. For  one  thing,  the  spirit  of  peace  and  humanity  which 
was  ripening  in  the  securer  central  parts  of  the  Empire  had 
probably  impaired  its  instincts  of  defence.  The  modern  world 
is  trying  just  now  to  believe  that  you  can  retain  the  power  of 
defence  when  you  have  given  up  all  thoughts  of  aggression. 
It  may  be  so.  The  Roman  world  failed  in  the  attempt. 



Rome's  statesmen  were  now  no  longer  soldiers,  but  lawyers 
and  financiers.  Even  the  prefects  of  the  praetorian  guard  were 
lawyers.  The  army  was  a  profession  apart.  Moreover,  even 
the  army  had  become  so  civilised  that  it  had  lost  many  of  its 
martial  qualities.  Hadrian  more  than  any  other  ruler  is 
responsible  for  allowing  the  cannabce  or  "booths"  which  had 
sprung  up  around  the  camps  to  grow  into  towns  and  even 
cities.  The  legions  were  now  permanently  established  in  their 
quarters,  the  soldiers  married  wives  and  occupied  their  leisure  in 
business  or  husbandry.  Hadrian  it  was,  too,  who  in  his  large 
cosmopolitan  spirit  had  introduced  many  and  doubtless  useful 
barbarian  methods  of  fighting,  so  that  the  old  Roman  military 
traditions  had  fallen  into  desuetude.  A  legion  was  now  no 
better  than  its  auxiliaries.  The  auxiliaries  were  often  barbarians 
and  soon  the  legions  themselves  became  completely  barbarised. 
It  was  only  a  step  further  when  barbarians  were  recruited  in 
tribes  to  fight  Rome's  battles  under  their  own  commanders. 

Secondly,  the  whole  Roman  world  was  being  slowly  strangled 
with  good  intentions.  The  bureaucracy  had  grown  so  highly 
organised  and  efficient,  so  nicely  ordered  through  its  various 
grades  of  official  life,  that  everybody  walked  in  leading-strings 
to  the  music  of  official  proclamations.  Paternalism  regulated 
everything  with  its  watchful  and  benignant  eye.  The  triumph 
of  the  system  may  be  seen  in  the  famous  Edict  of  Prices  issued 
by  Diocletian  in  A.D.  301.  Here  we  find  scheduled  a  maximum 
price  for  every  possible  commodity  of  trade  and  a  maximum 
wage  for  every  kind  of  service.  Death  is  the  penalty  for  any 
trader  who  asks,  or  any  purchaser  who  pays  a  higher  price. 
No  difference  of  locality  or  season  is  permitted.  Trade  is  for- 
bidden to  fluctuate  under  penalty  of  death.  This  delightful 
scheme,  which  was  engraved  on  stone  in  every  market  in 
Europe,  was  evidently  the  product  of  a  highly  efficient  Board 
of  Trade,  which  had  sat  late  of  nights  over  the  study  of  statistics 
and  political  economy.  Benevolent  officials  of  this  type 
swarmed  all  over  the  empire,  spying  and  reporting  on  one 
another  as  well  as  on  the  general  public. 


The  same  system  of  blear-eyed  officialism  had  found  a  still 
more  ingenious  method  of  throttling  the  society  which  it  was 
endeavouring  to  nurse  back  into  infancy.  It  was  under 
Severus  Alexander  (about  A.D.  230)  that  the  various  collegia 
or  guilds  were  incorporated  by  charter,  so  that  every  industry 
whatever  became  a  close  corporation.  This  rendered  the  task 
of  administration  much  simpler.  It  meant  that  every  human 
occupation  became  hereditary.  There  was,  for  example,  a  guild 
of  the  coloni  or  tillers  of  the  soil.  The  most  benevolent  of  the 
emperors,  Marcus  Aurelius  and  the  two  Severi,  had  planted 
barbarians  on  Roman  soil  under  condition  of  military  service  in 
lieu  of  rent.  This  service  became  hereditary  also.  Before  long 
each  piece  of  ground  had  to  supply  a  recruit.  The  decuriones, 
moreover,  or  municipal  senators,  who  had  once  been  the 
honoured  magistrates  of  their  townships,  also  became  a  caste. 
As  they  were  made  responsible  for  the  collection  of  property 
tax  in  their  boroughs,  and  as  wealth  began  to  decline  and 
taxation  to  increase,  they  were  reduced  to  a  condition  of  penury 
and  misery.  The  exemption  from  taxation  of  whole  classes  of 
society,  such  as  the  soldiers  and  eventually  the  Christian 
clergy,  added  to  their  burdens.  Then,  since  many  of  them 
attempted  to  evade  the  distresses  entailed  upon  their  rank  by 
joining  the  army  or  even  selling  themselves  into  slavery,  a 
decree  was  issued  which  made  their  office  hereditary.  It 
became  a  form  of  punishment  to  enrol  an  offender  among  these 
curiales.  A  decree  of  Constantine  bound  all  the  tillers  of  the 
soil  in  hereditary  bondage  for  ever.  In  these  ways  Roman 
society  fell  into  stagnation.  Since  the  progress  of  the 
Manchurian  Empire  in  China  proceeded  on  very  similar  lines, 
it  looks  as  if  the  benevolent  despotism  engendered  by  highly 
centralised  government  of  very  large  areas  was  one  of  the 
methods  by  which  Providence  is  accustomed  to  bring  great 
empires  low. 

At  the  close  of  the  third  century  Diocletian  endeavoured 
to  save  the  state  by  a  bold  revolution.  He  swept  away  the 
h  ollow  pretence  of  republicanism  and  frankly  surrounded  the 


throne  with  every  circumstance  of  majesty  and  ceremony. 
The  free  access  which  had  generally  been  granted  by  the  most 
despotic  princes  was  replaced  by  an  elaborate  system  of  inter- 
mediaries. To  meet  the  obvious  needs  of  devolution  in 
government,  as  well  as  to  stop  the  incessant  struggles  for  the 
succession,  he  invented  an  ingenious  division  of  responsibility. 
Henceforth  there  were  to  be  two  Augusti,  one  taking  the  East 
and  one  the  West.  The  Empire  was  not  actually  divided,  for 
the  joint  writ  of  the  two  colleagues  was  to  run  all  over  it. 
Moreover  each  Augustus  was  to  have  a  junior  colleague,  a 
"  Caesar,"  acting  as  his  lieutenant  and  prepared  to  step  into  his 
place.  Ties  of  marriage  were  to  unite  all  four  into  one  close 
family  alliance.  There  were  now  one  hundred  and  sixteen 
provinces  and  Diocletian  grouped  them  into  thirteen  "  dioceses  " 
each  under  a  "vicar,"  directly  responsible  to  one  of  four 
"praetorian  praefects,"  who  shared  the  administration  of  the 
whole.  The  troops  were  no  longer  subject  to  the  provincial 
governors,  but  each  army  had  a  "  Duke  "  (dux)  of  its  own. 
Each  frontier — and  these  were  still  further  fortified — was 
under  its  own  "  Duke."  At  the  same  time  steps  were  taken 
to  organise  a  central  striking  force — the  comitatus  of  the 
emperors.  The  four  Prefectures  and  thirteen  Dioceses  were  as 
follows : 

/Egypt  ILLYRICUM    (Macedonia  I  Italia 

Oriens  ( Dacia  ITALIA   I  Ulyricum  (after 

ORIENS  -<Pontus  /"Gallia  1     Theodosius) 

Asia  GALLIARUM  -I  Hispania  [Africa 

\Thracia  ^Britannia 

Italy,  it  will  be  observed,  has  now  definitely  declined  into  the 
status  of  a  province  among  many,  and  Rome  itself  was  not 
sufficiently  near  the  frontier  armies  to  be  a  convenient  capital. 
Diocletian  preferred  to  make  his  residence  at  Nicomedia.  The 
senate,  as  a  necessary  consequence,  receded  into  the  background, 
and  remained  little  more  than  a  title  of  dignity.  The  emperor's 
Consistory,  a  privy  council  composed  of  the  heads  of  depart- 
ments, took  its  place  for  practical  purposes.  The  new  hierarchy 











of  officials  rejoiced  in  barbaric  titles  which  would  have  shocked 
the  ears  of  a  genuine  Roman. 

Naturally  these  advances  in  the  direction  of  more  and 
stronger  government  proved  no  alleviation  of  the  woes  which 
sprang  from  too  much  supervision.  The  most  visible  sign  of 
decay  was  the  decline  of  population  which  began  to  lay  the 
central  parts  of  the  Empire  desolate,  and  this  sprang  not  only 
from  economic  burdens,  but  from  racial  decline.  Money 
became  so  debased  and  worthless  that  the  world  actually  went 
back  to  the  system  of  barter. 

Constantine  signalised  Diocletian's  plan  of  dividing  the 
responsibility  of  government  by  founding  a  new  capital  at 
Byzantium.  His  motives  were  probably  mixed.  In  the  first 
place  he  would  be  free  of  the  awkward  republican  traditions 
which  still  kept  reasserting  themselves,  and  in  the  second  place 
Constantinople  was  a  more  central  and  a  much  more  defensible 
situation.  But,  more  than  all,  in  this  new  Rome  he  could 
break  away  from  the  old  religion.  Constantine's  plan  for 
restoring  the  tired  and  afflicted  world  was  the  adoption  of 
Christianity.  The  Decree  of  Milan  (313)  made  Christianity 
the  official  religion,  though  not  the  only  religion,  of  the 
Empire.  It  was  already  the  religion  of  the  court — ever  since 
Constantine  had  seen  his  famous  vision  of  the  Angel  descending 
from  Heaven  with  the  sign  of  the  Cross  and  uttering  the  words 
tv  Tovrtf  VIKO, — "  Hoc  signo  vinces."  Still  half-pagan,  the  emperor 
had  made  the  Cross  his  mascot,  and  in  the  strength  of  it  had 
defeated  his  rival  at  the  Milvian  Bridge  just  outside  Rome.* 
Constantine  himself  was  by  no  means  a  saint ;  in  murdering 
kinsmen  he  was,  in  fact,  among  the  worst  of  the  emperors,  but 
unwittingly  he  saved  the  world  by  his  conversion.  Meanwhile 
the  extravagance  with  which  he  adorned  his  new  city  afflicted 
the  whole  Empire  with  the  burdens  of  fresh  taxations. 

The  scheme  of  a  divided  Empire  failed.  After  Theodosius 
(395)  the  division  became  permanent.  The  Eastern  throne 
remained  secure  for  another  thousand  years,  protected  by  the 

*  See  Plate  95,  Fig.  2. 



admirable  strategic  position  of  Constantinople.  The  contempt 
with  which  it  has  hitherto  been  treated  by  historians  is  now 
beginning  to  break  down,  and  it  is  seen  that  the  Byzantine 
Empire  not  only  stood  as  the  bulwark  for  the  West  against  the 
East  but  preserved  for  us  the  inestimable  treasures  of  Greek 
intellect.  The  Roman  tradition,  now  inextricably  mingled 
with  the  Greek,  lingered  on  there  unchanged,  even  to  the  very 
chariot-races  which  still  threw  society  into  a  ferment.  To  this 
day  the  inhabitants  of  Greece  and  Roumania  distinguish  them- 
selves from  their  oriental  neighbours  by  the  proud  title  of 
"  Romans." 

But  in  the  West  a  series  of  phantoms  succeeded  one 
another  upon  the  throne.  The  floodgates  of  the  Rhine  and 
Danube  frontiers  broke  down  completely  and  the  new  nations 
streamed  into  their  heritage.  Then  it  was  found  how  truly 
Constantine's  policy  had  saved  the  world.  Though  the  Goths 
took  and  plundered  Rome  (410),  they  came  in  not  as  pagan 
destroyers,  but  as  Christian  immigrants,  and  it  was  Gothic 
generals  and  Gothic  armies  who  saved  Europe  from  destruc- 
tion. About  447  the  Mongolian  Huns  under  their  terrible 
Attila  came  riding  into  western  Europe  from  the  steppes  of 
Russia.  They  crossed  the  Rhine  half  a  million  strong, 
destroying  and  burning  as  they  came.  The  Roman  emperor's 
sister  Honoria  proposed  marriage  to  Attila,  and  the  proud 
barbarian  offered  her  a  place  in  his  harem  if  she  would  bring 
half  the  Western  Empire  as  her  dowry.  The  Roman  general 
Aetius  with  a  half-barbarian  army  in  alliance  with  the  Visigoths 
checked  them  at  "The  Battle  of  Chalons"  and  the  peril  drifted 
away.  Aetius  who  had  saved  Rome  was  stabbed  by  his 
ungrateful  emperor. 

The  Vandals  had  already  overrun  Spain  and  streamed 
across  to  Africa,  whence  they  issued  forth  to  make  a  second 
sack  of  Rome.  Britain  had  been  deserted  rather  by  the  choice 
of  its  army  than  by  command  of  any  emperor,  and  left  a  prey 
to  the  pagans  of  the  north  in  406.  Italy  itself  was  wholly  in 
the  hands  of  the  barbarians,  who  lived  on  terms  of  apparent 



equality  with  the  Romans.  Puppets  wore  the  imperial  purple 
and  did  the  behests  of  barbarian  "Patricians,"  Ricimer  the 
Suevian,  Gundobald  his  nephew,  and  finally  Odoacer,  a  tribeless 
barbarian  from  the  north.  By  this  time  the  Western  Empire 
was  dismembered  for  ever,  and  western  Europe  was  merely  a 
series  of  barbarian  principalities.  In  476  Odoacer  removed 
the  last  puppet-emperor  of  Rome,  who  bore  the  significant 
name  of  Romulus  Augustulus.  The  seat  of  the  Western 
Empire  had  long  been  removed  from  the  twice-sacked  city  of 
Rome,  and  the  later  princes  had  ruled  from  Ravenna,  where 
the  little  mausoleum  of  the  Empress  Placidia,  sister  of  Honorius, 
still  stands  as  a  type  of  the  shrunken  glories  of  the  last 
successors  of  Augustus.* 

In  theory  the  Western  Empire  did  not  come  to  an  end  in 
476.  The  Eastern  emperors  now  claimed  authority  over  the 
whole  Roman  world  and  exercised  it  so  far  as  they  could 
obtain  obedience.  Strong  Caesars  like  Justinian  made  their 
rule  respected  far  and  wide.  Geographically  and  politically, 
the  West  had  now  begun  its  mediaeval  existence  as  a  congeries 
of  small  kingdoms  generally  of  uncertain  extent. 

But  in  a  far  truer  sense  Rome  continued  to  rule  the  world 
as  before.  Her  two  great  legacies,  the  Roman  Law  and  the 
Roman  Church,  ruled  it  as  completely  as  ever  the  legions  had 
done.  Even  in  politics,  the  grand  conception  of  the  Christian 
Republic,  Church  and  State  in  one,  with  the  Pope  as  the 
successor  of  St.  Peter  bearing  the  keys  of  Heaven  and  Hell, 
while  the  emperor  as  the  successor  of  Augustus  wielded  its 
sword,  continued  for  another  thousand  years  to  dominate 
Europe.  It  was  under  the  aegis  of  this  great  idea  that  the 
young  nations  grew  up  and  came  into  their  own. 

Thus  the  true  history  of  Rome  from  this  point  is  the  history 
of  the  Church,  and  this  is  no  place  to  relate  it.  But  it  may 
be  contended  here  that  the  visible  Church  was  as  truly  a 
creation  of  the  Roman  spirit  as  was  the  Empire  itself.  Rome 
had  seized  upon  the  teaching  of  One  who  lived  in  poverty 

*  Plate  93. 



and  obscurity  among  slaves  and  outcasts,  who  preached  against 
worldliness,  formality,  and  ambition,  who  sent  out  His  disciples 
to  beg  their  way,  and  out  of  this,  with  her  wonderful  genius 
for  government,  she  had  created  a  powerful  monarchy  which 
could  humble  kings,  and  an  organised  ecclesiastical  state  which 
spread  like  a  network  over  the  earth  and  tamed  the  fury  of  the 

In  the  same  way  the  culture  of  these  latter  days  is  to  be 
found  in  Church  History.  Augustine,  St.  John  Chrysostom, 
and  Tertullian  are  its  representative  writers  and  thinkers  more 
truly  than  Ausonius  or  Claudian.  Except  for  the  Arch  of 
Constantine,*  which  was  mainly  compiled  out  of  earlier  remains, 
its  Art  is  to  be  found  in  the  sacred  mosaics  of  Constantinople 
or  Torcello,  or  in  the  Byzantine  ivories  such  as  the  famous 
Barberini  panel,  showing  Constantine  as  the  establisher  of  the 
Christian  Faith.f  Architecture  continues  to  show  remarkable 
developments,  and  in  the  wonderful  palace  which  Diocletian 
constructed  for  his  retirement  at  Spalato  on  the  Dalmatian 
coast  there  are  new  combinations  of  the  Roman  arch  with  the 
Greek  columns  which  are  full  of  promise  for  the  birth  of  Gothic 
art.J  The  earliest  Christian  churches  designed  on  the  plan  of 
a  Greek  cross,  with  a  dome  covering  the  intersection  of  nave 
and  transepts,  is  derived  from  Asia  Minor  and  bears  traces  of 
the  oriental  influence  which  is  so  powerful  in  Byzantine  Art. 

*  Plate  71,  Fig.  2. 

t  Plate  94. 

I  Plate  95,  Fig.  i. 


3  i 

















Legendary  date  of  the  foundation  of 

Legendary  date  of  the  expulsion  of 
Tarquin,  and  establishment  of  the 

Legendary  date  of  the  Etruscan  in- 
vasion under  Lars  Porsena 

Legendary  date  of  the  First  Secession 
of  the  Plebeians 


Legendary  date  of  the  Twelve  Tables 
Conquest  of  Rome  by  the  Gauls 
Licinian  Laws  :  ( i )  forbid  large  hold- 
ings of  public  land;    (2)  compel 
landlords  to  employ  a  certain  pro- 
portion of  free  labour 

Possibly  authentic  date  of  first 
treaty  between  Rome  and 
the  Latins,  drawn  up  by  Sp. 

Defeat  of  the  Etruscans  by 

312  Censorship  of  Appius  Claudius  in- 
cluding ( i)  publication  of  the  laws ; 
(2)  construction  of  Via  Claudia 




Conquest  of  S.  Etruria  by  Rome. 
Caere  becomes  the  first 
civitas  sine  suffragio 

First  treaty  of  commerce  be- 
tween Rome  and  Carthage 

Samnite  Wars,  involving  sub- 
jugation of  the  Latins,  and 
eventually  of  all  Central  Italy 

Great  defeat  of  the  Romans  at 
the  Caudine  Pass 

War  with  Tarentum  and  Pyr- 
rhus  involving  conquest  of 
South  Italy 





268    First  coinage  of  silver 

264  First  Punic  War,  involving  con- 

to  quest  of  Sicily,  Sardinia,  and 

24*  Corsica  —  first     transmarine 


264    First  gladiatorial  games  at  Rome. 
240    Livius    Andronicus.      Beginning    of 
Roman  literature 

222  Defeat  of  the  Cisalpine  Gauls 

220    Via  Flaminia  to  Ariminum 

218  Second  Punic  War 

218  Lex  Claudia  forbids  Senators  to 

engage  in  commerce 
216  Romans    severely    defeated    at 

205    Introduction  of  Phrygian  worship  of 

Magna  Mater 

202  Victory  of  Scipio  at  Zama 

201  Peace  with  Carthage  involving 

cession  of  Spain 

200  Second  Macedonian  War 


1 96  Flamininus  proclaims  the  liberty 

of  Greece 

J90  Defeat  of  Antiochus  the  Great 

of  Syria  at  Magnesia 

186  7000  Romans  condemned  for  the 
Bacchic  orgies 

184  Censorship  of  Cato  the  Elder.  Death 
of  Plautus.  Basilica  of  Cato  con- 

I7I  Third  Macedonian  War.    Egypt 

*°  accepts  Roman  suzerainty 


165  1000  Greeks,  including  Polybius  the 
historian,  brought  to  Italy  as  host- 

161  Greek  orators  and  philosophers  ex- 
pelled (vainly) 

1 60    Adelphi  of Terence  performed 

Z48  Macedonia  becomes  a  province 

X46  On    destruction    of    Carthage, 

Africa  becomes  a  province 
Great  influx  of  Greek  Art  Corinth  destroyed 





133    Tribunate  and  agrarian  programme  of  Kingdom  of  Attalus  bequeathed 
Tiberius  Gracchus  to  Rome,  becomes  province 

of  Asia 

123  Tribunate  and  agrarian  programme  of 
Gaius  Gracchus.  Establishment  of 
the  Equites  as  a  political  power 

121  Province  of  Gallia  Narbonensis, 

f  formed  by  conquest  of  S.  Gaul 

112  War  with  Jugurtha  :  triumph  of 
to  Marius 


113  Army  reforms  and  political  power  of  War  with  Cimbri  and  Teutons 
to          Marius 


91  War  against   the  Italian   allies 

(Social  War) 
88     Conquest   of  Rome   by   Sulla,  and  War  with  Mithradates  of  Pontus. 

restoration  of  the  Senate  Massacre  of  Romans 

87     Revolution    of  Cinna    and   Marius 

with  great  massacre  of  nobles 
82     Return  of  Sulla  and  proscription  of  Defeat  of  the  Samnites  at   the 

the  democrats  Colline  Gate  of  Rome 

8 1     Sulla  dictator.     Cornelian  Laws  im-  Cisalpine  Gaul  becomes  a  pro- 
prove  the  judicial  system.  Cicero's       vince.     Rome  refuses^Egypt 

first  speech 
78     Date  of  extant  buildings  at  Rome  (i) 

the  Tabularium;    (2)  the  Temple 

of  Fortuna  Virilis 

75  Bithynia  and  Cyrene  made  pro- 

vinces  (both    bequeathed   to 

7  3     Insurrection  of  slaves  under  Spartacus 

67  Pompeius  defeats  the  pirates 

63     Consulship  of  Cicero,  who   crushes   Pompeius  ends  the  Mithradatic 

the  conspiracy  of  Catiline  War.    New  provinces  organ- 

ised :    Cilicia,   Bithynia  with 
Pontus,  Syria,  and  Crete 
60     Union    of    Pompeius,    Csesar,    and 

Crassus,  "  the  First  Triumvirate  " 
59     Consulship  of  Caesar,  and  grant  of 

the  province  of  Gaul 
58     Banishment    of  Cicero.    Theatre  of  Csesar  defeats  the  Helvetians 

Curio  built 

57     Recall  of  Cicero  Caesar  defeats  the  Nervii 

56     Renewal  of   the   "  Triumvirate "    at  Caesar  defeats    the  Veneti    by 

Lucca  sea 

55     Dedication  of  theatre  of  Pompeius       Caesar  invades  Britain 

















Senate-house  burnt  in  a  riot.     Pom- 
peius  passes  laws  against  Caesar 

Caesar  begins  the  Civil  War 

Battle  of  Pharsalus,  defeat  of  Pom- 

Final  defeat  of  Pompeians  at  Thapsus 
in  Africa.  Caesar  dictator.  Dedi- 
cation of  new  Forum  Julium,  and 
temple  of  Venus  Genetrix 

Caesar  enlarges  the  Senate  and  regu- 
lates the  municipal  constitutions 
of  the  Italian  towns 

Assassination  of  Caesar.  M.  Antonius 
in  command  of  Rome.  Cicero's 

Octavian,  Caesar's  heir,  with  the  con- 
suls defeats  Antony  at  Mutina,  and 
is  elected  consul.  Second  Trium- 
virate formed,  Antony,  Octavian, 
and  Lepidus.  Proscription  of 
the  tyrannicide  party,  including 

Battles  of  Philippi.  Defeat  of  Brutus 
and  Cassius.  Temple  of  Saturn 

War  at  Perusia,  in  which  Octavian 
crushes  the  revolt  of  L.  An- 

Library  of  Pollio  founded.  Octavian 
marries  Livia 

Sextus  Pompeius  defeated.  Lepidus 
deprived  of  his  army 

Publication  of  Horace's  Epodes 
Triumph  of  Caesar  Octavianus 
Census   and  restoration    of  Senate. 
Dedication    of  temple    and    library 

of    Palatine     Apollo :    eighty-two 

temples  restored  ^ 


Second  invasion  of  Britain 
Defeat  of  Crassus  by  the  Par- 

thians.     Caesar    subdues  the 

Treveri,    and     crosses     the 

Great  revolt  of  Gaul  under  Ver- 

cingetorix  crushed  at  Alesia 
Final     subjugation     of     Gaul. 

Cicero  governor  of  Cilicia 

Caesar  regulates  Egypt,  leaving 
Cleopatra  as  queen 

M.  Antonius  with  Cleopatra  in 

Antony  defeated  in  Parthia 

Defeat  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra 

at  Actium  by  Octavian 
Conquest  of  Egypt 

Mcesia  made  a  province 




27     "  Restoration  of  the  Republic  "  really   Provinces      divided      between 
the    beginning     of    the    Empire.        Czesar    and    Senate.     Caesar 
Octavian    receives     the    title    of       takes  Spain,  Gaul,  Syria,  and 
Augustus.  Pantheon  of  M.  Agrippa       keeps  Egypt 

23     Augustus    resigns    the     consulship.   Failure  of  expedition  to  Arabia 
Death     of     Marcellus.      Vergil's 
jEneid,  Horace's  Odes,  i,  ii,  iii 

20  Augustus  in  Asia.     Submission 

of  Parthians 

1 9     Death  of  Vergil  Conquest  of  North  Spain 

17  Julian  "  Laws  of  Morality."  Secular 
games.  Horace  as  laureate.  Augus- 
tus adopts  Gaius  and  Lucius  his 

1 6  German  invasion  of  Gaul.  Defeat 

of  Lollius 

1 3  Theatre  of  Marcellus  built  Drusus  in  Gaul  for  conquest  of 


1 2      Dedication  of  Ara  Pacis  Augustas 
9      End  of  Livy's  History  Death    of    Drusus    after    four 

campaigns  in  Germany 

8      Death  of  Horace  and  Maecenas  Tiberius  in  Germany. 

4  Death  of  Herod.    Probable  date 

of  birth  of  Christ 
2       Banishment  of  Julia 


2       Death  of  Lucius  and  mortal  wounding 

of  Gaius.     Tiberius  adopted 

4      Building    of   "  Maison    Carree "    at  Tiberius's  annual  campaigns  in 

Nismes  Germany 

6      Establishment    of  military  chest   at  Judaea  becomes  a  province  (cen- 

Rome.      Temple  of  Castor  rebuilt  sus  of  Quirinius).     Great  re- 
volt in  Pannonia 

8  Banishment  of  Ovid  Subjection  of  Pannonia 

9  Defeat  of  Varus  by  Arminius  in 


14  Death  of  Augustus.     Succession  of  Revolt  of  Rhine  and    Danube 

Tiberius.     Political    extinction    of       armies  quelled  by  Germanicus 
the    comitia.     Extension    of    law        and  Drusus 
of  treason  and  growth  of  informing 

1 6  Germanicus  defeats  the  Germans 

under  Arminius  at  Idistavisus 
27     Tiberius  retires  to  Capri.      Sejanus 
in  command  of  Rome 

X  321 




37      Gains  Caesar  (Caligula),  murdered  by 

Praetorian  guard 
4 1      Claudius 









Poisoning  of  Britannicus 

Fire  at  Rome,  and  first  persecution 
of  the  Christians 


Futile  expedition  towards  Britain 

New  provinces  incorporated  : 
Mauretania,  Lycia,  Thracia 
(46),  and  Judaea.  Conquest 
of  Britain  begun  (43) 

Year  of  the  Four  Emperors  : 
Galba,  June-Jan.  69 
Otho,  Jan.-April 
Vitellius,  April-Dec. 
Vespasian,  "  The  Flavian  Dynasty  " 

Erection  of  Colosseum,  Arch  of 
Titus,  and  Baths  of  Titus 

Titus.  Eruption  of  Vesuvius.  Hercu- 
laneum  buried  in  mud  and  Pompeii 
in  ashes.  Death  of  Elder  Pliny 


Murder  of  Domitian 

Nerva,  repealed  law  of  treason  and 

reduced  taxes 
Trajan,  built  Forum  Trajani,  Basilica 

Ulpia,  and  Column  of  Trajan 

Revolt  of  Boadicea  in  Britain 

Revolt  of  Vindex  in  Gaul  and 
Galba  in  Spain 

118  Hadrian,  built  Moles  Hadriani, 
Temple  of  Venus  and  Rome, 
Pantheon,  Villa  at  Tivoli,  and 
Temple  of  Olympian  Zeus  at 

138  Antoninus  Pius,  "The  Antonine 
Dynasty."  Built  Temple  of 
Antoninus  and  Faustina 


Revolt  of  Batavians  under 

Siege  and  destruction  of  Jeru- 

Progress  of  Agricola  in  Scotland. 
Construction  of  Rhaetian  limes 
Wars  against  the  Dacians 

(101-102)  First  Dacian  War. 
(105-107)  Second  Dacian 
War.  Dacia  becomes  a  pro- 
vince. (114-116)  Invasion 
of  Parthia,  capture  of 
Ctesiphon.  New  provinces : 
Armenia,  Mesopotamia, 
Assyria,  and  Arabia 

Abandoned  Armenia,  Meso- 
potamia and  Assyria.  Grand 
tour  of  the  empire. 
Hadrian's  wall  in  Britain. 
Revolt  and  destruction  of 
the  Jewish  nation 
















Marcus   Aurelius.     Plague    in    Italy. 
Statue  and  column  of  M.  Aurelius 


Pertinax  murdered  by  soldiers.  Didius 

Julianus  bought  the  throne 
Septimius  Severus  proclaimed  by  the 

Illyrian     legions.      Great     jurist 

Papinian  flourishes 

Baths  of  Caracalla  finished 
Elagabalus,      Attempt  to  introduce 

Severus      Alexander.        The     jurist 

Ulpian    and    the    historian    Dio 

Cassius  flourished 
Maximinus  Thrax 
Gordianus  I.  and  II.  and  III. 
Philippus,  the  Arabian 
Decius.     Persecution  of  Christians 




War  against  Parthia.  War  with 
Marcomanni  and  Quadi. 
Emperor  died  at  Vienna 

Expedition  to  Britain.  Em- 
peror died  at  York.  Strength- 
ening of  walls 

All  inhabitants  of  provinces 
(except  Egypt)  become 

New   Persian    Empire    of    the 
Sassanidx  begun 

Defeat  of  the  Goths  in  Thrace. 
Decius  fell  in  the  fighting 

Gallienus.  Time  of  great  confusion 
owing  to  pretenders.  "The 
thirty  tyrants  " 

Claudius  Gothicus 

Aurelian  ("  Restitutor  Orbis").  Wall 
round  Rome 

Tacitus  (choice  of  the  Senate) 

282     Carus,  then  Numerianus,  then  Carinus 

Wars  against  German  invaders, 
Franks,  Alemanni,  and  Goths. 
Expedition  to  Persia.  Em- 
peror captured 

Tetricus  sets  up  a  rival  empire 
in  Gaul  and  Spain.  Odena- 
thus  sets  up  an  independent 
kingdom  at  Palmyra  in 

Defeats  German  invaders 

Sacrifices  Dacia  across  the 
Danube  to  the  Goths.  Re- 
pulses Alemanni  and  Marco- 
manni from  Italian  soil.  De- 
feats Zenobia  and  destroys 
Palmyra.  Defeats  Tetricus 

Temple  of  the  Sun  constructed 
at  Heliopolis  (Ba'albek) 

Drives  back  the  Barbarians  and 
restores  the  defences 











Diocletian  resided  chiefly  at  Nico- 
media  in  Asia  Minor,  leaving  the 
west  to  Maximian,  Constantius 
and  Galerius  appointed  Caesars. 
Persecution  of  Christians 

Six  "  Augusti  "  claiming  the  purple, 
Constantine  of  Britain  among  them 

Constantine  the  Great  (sole  emperor). 
Christianity  recognised  by  the 

Arian  conflict,     Council  of  Nicaea 

Building  of  Constantinople 

Julian  the  Apostate  endeavours  to 
revive  Paganism 

379    Theodosius.      After   Theodosius    the 
to          division    of  the  Empire  becomes 
395         permanent 

395  Arcadius  rules  the  East :  Honorius 
rules  the  West 


400    Alaric  invades  Italy 

402    Imperial  residence  transferred  from 

Rome  to  Ravenna 

410    Capture  and  sack  of  Rome  by  Alaric 
415    Visigoths     found     a     kingdom     at 


429    Vandals  found  a  kingdom  in  Africa 
449    Anglo-Saxons    begin    to    settle    in 


451  Attila    and    the    Huns  defeated  by 

Aetius  and  the  Goths  near  Chalons 

452  Foundation  of  Venice 

476  Odoacer,  barbarian  general,  deposes 
the  last  Western  emperor,  Romulus 



Persians  defeated,  Egyptian  and 
British  revolts  crushed 

Beginning  of  the  great  German 

Visigoths    received    in    Moesia 

if  Christians.      Massacre   of 

Thessalonica  (St.  Ambrose  of 



Justinian,  emperor.  Victories 
of  Belisarius.  Codification  of 



[The  following  list  of  books  will  serve  two  purposes,  as  a  guide  to  the 
reader  who  wishes  to  inquire  further  on  any  special  point,  and  as  an 
acknowledgment  of  some  of  the  obligations  of  the  writer.  Only  works 
available  in  English  are  here  included,  and  the  list  is  selected  rather  than 

General  Histories  of  Rome 

PELHAM.     Outlines  of  Roman  History.     Rivingtons. 
WARDE  FOWLER.     Rome.     (Home  University  Library.) 
Williams  and  Norgate. 

General  Histories  of  the  Republic 

MOMMSEN.     A  History  of  Rome.     5  vols.     Bentley. 
HEITLAND.     The  Roman  Republic.     3  vols.    Cambridge 

University  Press. 

MYRES.     A  History  of  Rome.     Rivingtons. 
How  and  LEIGH.     A  History  of  Rome  to  the  Death  of 

Caesar.     Longmans. 

General  Histories  of  the  Empire 

GIBBON.     Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire.     Ed. 

Bury.     Methuen.     7  vols. 
BURY.     The  Student's  Roman  Empire  (to  the  Death  of 

Marcus  Aurelius).     Murray. 
STUART  JONES.     Roman  Empire.     Story  of  the  Nations. 

Fisher  Unwin. 

Special  Periods  and  Biographies 

STRACHAN-DAVIDSON.     Cicero.     Heroes  of  the  Nations. 



WARDE    FOWLER.      Caesar.      Heroes   of  the    Nations. 


BOISSIER.     Cicero  and  his  Friends.      Innes. 
OMAN.     Seven  Roman  Statesmen.     Arnold. 
MOMMSEN.      The    Provinces    of    the    Roman    Empire. 

2  vols.     Macmillan. 
DILL.     Roman  Society  from  Nero  to  Marcus  Aurelius 

Roman    Society   in    the    last    Century   of   the 

Western  Empire.     Macmillan. 
RICE  HOLMES.     Caesar's  Conquest  of  Gaul.     Macmillan, 

and  Clarendon  Press. 
PAIS.     Ancient  Legends  of  Roman  History.     Sonnen- 

FERRERO.     Greatness   and  Decline  of   Rome.      5   vols. 


TARVER.     Tiberius  the  Tyrant.     Constable. 
HAVERFIELD.     The    Romanisation    of    Roman    Britain. 

Clarendon  Press. 


GREENIDGE.     Roman  Public  Life.     Macmillan. 
ARNOLD.    Roman  Provincial  Administration.    Macmillan. 

Morals  and  Religion 

FRIEDLANDER.      Roman  Life  and  Manners.      Routledge. 
WARDE    FOWLER.      The   Religious   Experiences  of  the 

Roman  People.     Macmillan. 
The  Roman  Festivals.     Macmillan. 
GLOVER.    Conflict  of  Religions  under  the  Roman  Empire. 

RAMSAY.      The  Church  in  the  Roman   Empire   before 

A.D.  170.      Putnams. 

LECKY.     History  of  European  Morals.     Longmans. 



CUNNINGHAM.      Western  Civilisation    in    its    Economic 
Aspects.     Vol.  I.     Cambridge  University  Press. 


SELLAR.     Roman  Poets  of  the  Augustan  Age.     Claren- 
don Press. 

CRUTTWELL.     History  of  Roman  Literature.     Griffin. 
MACKAIL.     Latin  Literature.     Murray. 
RUSHFORTH.     Latin  Historical  Inscriptions.     Clarendon 

Art  and  Archeology 

MRS.  STRONG.     Roman  Sculpture.     Duckworth. 
WALTERS.     The  Art  of  the  Romans.     Methuen. 
WICKHOFF.     Roman  Art.     Macmillan. 
MAU.     Pompeii,  its  Life  and  Art.     Macmillan. 
HILL.      Handbook  of  Greek  and  Roman  Coins.     Mac- 


BURN.      Rome  and  the  Campagna. 

MIDDLETON.     Remains  of  Ancient  Rome.    2  vols.    1872. 
MURRAY'S  Handbooks. 
BAEDEKER'S  Guides. 

LANCIANI.      Ancient    Rome   in    the    Light    of    Recent 
Discoveries.     Macmillan. 


BUCKLAND.     Roman  Law  of  Slavery.    1908.    Cambridge 

University  Press. 

ROBY.     Roman  Private  Law.     1902.     Cambridge  Uni- 
versity Press. 



ABITENE,  194 

Accomplishments,  early  Roman,  34 

"Accountants,"  276 

Achaean  League,  55,  202 

Achaia,  193,  202 

Actium,  Battle  of,  129,  166,  184,  188, 
202,  240 

Actors,  137 

Acts  of  the  Apostles,  200 

Aden,  204 

Adherbal,  91 

Adiabene,  267 

Adige,  220 

Admirals,  187 

Adriatic  fleet,  186,  187 

Adultery,  law  against,  226 

Advertisements,  285 

JEdiles,  30,  32,  134 

^Edui,  262 

.<€isopus  (actor),  132 

Aetius,  314 

^Etolian  cavalry,  55 

Afranius,  123 

Africa,  province  of,  59,  193,  208,  283  ; 
diocese,  312 

Agathocles,  45,  61 

Agedincum,  212 

Agri  Decumates,  264 

Agricola,  Julius,  260,  261 

Agriculture,  early  Roman,  36,  70 

Agrippa,  General  under  Augustus,  165; 
intended  successor  to  Augustus, 
174,  175  ;  disciplinarian,  183  ;  over- 
lord in  Asia,  195  ;  Herod  and,  205  ; 
and  the  worship  of  Jehovah,  207  ; 
and  the  conquest  of  Spain,  221  ; 
married  to  Julia,  227,  228;  temple 
erected  by,  251 

Agrippa,  Marcus  Vipsanius,  129 

Agrippa  Postumus,  229 

Agrippina,  224 

Agrippina,  (mother  of  Nero),  256,  272 

Alani,  307 

Alba  Longa,  25 

Albinus,  Spurius,  92 

Alcamenes,  156 

Alcantara,  Bridge  of,  294 

Alemanni,  309 

Alesia,  116. 

Alexander  the  Great,  i,  6 

Alexandria,  Caesar  at,  122  ;  and  con- 
vention in  literature,  151;  rivalry 
with  Rome,  202,  282  ;  Jews  in,  268 

"  Alimenta,"  276 

Aliso,  216 

"Allies  and  friends,"  28,  60 

Alme,  216 

Alpes  Cottiae,  194 

Alpes  Maritimse,  194 

Alpine  tribes,  220 

Alps,  the,  Hannibal's  march,  50 ; 
roads  over,  220 

Amazons,  258,  307 

Amphitheatre,  the  Grand,  282 

Amphitheatre  displays,  74;  butchery, 

Amphitheatres,  243,  279;  in  Britain, 


Ampsaga,  river,  208 
Amusements,  136,  279 
"Analecta,"  137 
Anchises,  224 
Ancus  Martius,  19 
Ancyra,  199 

Ancyran  monument,  188 
Andernach,  264 



Andronikos,  74 

Anglesey,  259,  260 

Anna  Perenna,  36,  39 

Antinous,  293 

Antioch,  247,  267,  268,  282 

Antiochus  of  Syria,  54,  55 

Antium,  134 

Antonine  Constitution,  299 

Antonine  Wall,  261 

Antonines,  the,  277 

Antoninus  Pius,  262,  271,  277; 
column  of,  292 

Antonius  (orator),  104 

Antonius,  L.,  164 

Antony,  Mark,  and  Caesar,  124;  and 
the  succession,  126,  127;  and 
Octavian  (Augustus),  127, 128,  163, 
164;  the  Triumvirate,  128;  vic- 
tories, 128;  and  Cleopatra,  128, 
129,  164,  203;  and  Actium,  130; 
marriages,  138;  and  Cicero,  148 

Antony  and  Cleopatra,  coins  of,  155 

Aosta,  220 

Apelles,  296 

Apennines,  slave  refugees,  106 

Apicius,  279 

Apollo  as  a  Roman  god,  79 ;  temple 
to,  1 68 

Apollodorus,  266 

Apollonia,  201,  202 

Apollonius,  290 

Appian  Way,  34 

Appius  Claudius,  85 

Appius  Claudius  (censor),  34,  42,  46 

Appuleian  Laws,  95,  99 

Apuleius,  290 

Aquae  Mattiacae  (Wiesbaden),  264 

Aquae  Sextias,  94 

Aqueducts,  179,  280,  283,  293 

Aquilegia,  220 

Aquitania,  210 

Arabia,  194,  204,  267 

Arabs,  307 

Aratus,  234 

Arausio  (Orange),  94 

Arcesilaus,  156,  249 

Arch,  the,  153,  294 

Arch,  triumphal,  196 

Archelaus,  206 


Architecture  of  the  Republic,  151- 
154;  of  the  Augustan  period,  250— 
252  ;  of  the  Empire,  293-297  ; 
later  Roman  and  early  Christian, 

Arena.     See  Amphitheatre 

Aretine  pottery,  159 

Areus,  209 

Arezzo,  120 

Argos,  202 

Aristocracy,  government  by,  71,  72; 
debased,  81;  wealth,  132;  Augus- 
tus and,  224;  under  the  Empire, 
254;  Domitian  and  the,  274.  See 
also  Patricians 

Aristotle,  290 

Armenia,  194,  198,  199,  200,  267, 

Arminius,  218,  219,  263 

Armour  of  soldiers,  29,  98 

Army-^professional,  as  constituted  by 
Marius,  96-99 ;  and  government, 
99;  under  Augustus,  182;  soldier- 
ing becomes  a  profession,  184  ;  how 
constituted,  184;  rate  of  pay,  185; 
distribution  of  the  legions,  185  ;  pay 
(finance),  188;  bounties  to  veterans, 

Arpinum,  134 

Art,  Etruscan,  20  ;  early  Roman,  22, 
34,  66;  of  the  Republic,  151-159; 
of  the  Augustan  period,  243-252  ; 
of  the  Empire,  Greek  influence, 
291;  sculpture,  292;  history  of, 
293  ;  influence  of  Antinous,  293  ; 
architecture,  294-297 ;  painting, 
296;  minor  arts,  297;  Byzantine, 

"Art,  Roman,"  151,  245 

Art    collectors    under    the    Republic, 


Artillery,  280 

Artists,  248 

Arts,  the,  and  politics,  231 

Arusine  Plain,  46 

"  Aryan,"  2 

As,  the  copper  (coin),  17,  34,  154 

Aschaffenburg,  264 

Ashtaroth,  39 


Asia  Minor,  coins  of,  249  ;  Jews  in, 
268  ;  Christianity  in,  302 

Asia,  province  of,  59  ;  wealth,  61,  64; 
taxes,  88  ;  control  by  Augustus,  178; 
senatorial  province,  193;  security 
in,  200;  diocese,  312 

"  Asiarchs,"  201 

Assassins,  268 

Assessments  for  taxes,  276 

Assyria,  267 

Asturians,  220 

Asturica  Augusta  (Astorga),  221 

Athens  and  Rome,  contrast  between, 
2  ;  allied  with  Rome,  55  ;  Sulla  and, 
101 ;  and  education,  133;  an  allied 
state,  194  ;  position  of,  under  Rome, 
201  ;  new  quarter,  284 

Athletics,  286 

Atrium,  the,  135 

Attalids,  the.  of  Pergamum,  246 

Attalus,  55 

Attalus  III.,  59 

Attica,  201 

Atticus,  131,  233 

Attila,  314 

Attius,  138 

Augsburg,  220 

Augurs,  133 

Augusta  Emerita  (Merida),  221 

Augusta  (legion),  183 

"Augustals,"  181 

"  Augustan  "  age,  the.     See  Augustus 

Augustan  history,  305 

Augusti,  312 

Augustine,  316 

Augustulus,  Romulus,  315 

Augustus  (Gneius  Octavius,  Octa- 
vianus)  adds  Egypt  to  the  Empire, 
60;  Caesar's  heir,  124,  127;  takes 
up  his  inheritance,  127;  triple 
alliance,  128;  pursues  the  tyranni- 
cides, 128;  master  of  the  West,  129; 
becomes  the  Emperor  Augustus, 
100,  130;  health,  136;  and  litera- 
ture, 151;  and  monarchy,  161  ; 
statesmanship,  161,  182;  Suetonius 
on,  162;  character,  163;  and 
Cleopatra,  164;  policy,  164,  165; 
triumph,  165  ;  and  peace,  166  ;  and 

the  patricians,  167  ;  takes  a  census, 
167  ;  strengthens  the  senate,  167  ; 
improves  Rome,  167;  establishes 
the  Empire,  168 ;  senate  names 
him  Augustus,  169;  "restores  the 
Republic,"  168,  169;  constitutional 
position,  170;  wealth,  172;  as 
censor,  172;  consulships,  173; 
tribunician  power,  173  ;  successors, 
174;  age  and  reign,  175;  and  the 
senate,  175;  pretended  abdication, 
177;  powers,  177;  patron  of  the 
people,  1 80  ;  and  the  laws,  180; 
military  position,  182;  creates  a 
navy,  186;  and  public  finance,  188; 
his  generosity,  188;  his  provinces, 
194  ;  account  of  condition  of  Italy, 
196  ;  and  the  Parthians,  197  ;  cult 
of  himself,  201,  225;  and  Egypt, 
203;  and  the  Soudan,  204;  and 
Herod,  206  ;  and  the  Jews,  207  ; 
in  Sicily>  209  ;  and  Gaul,  209;  and 
Germany,  212;  and  Spain,  220; 
results  of  his  rule,  221;  his  work, 
223;  aristocracy  and,  224;  plots 
against,  224  ;  flattery,  224  ;  and  the 
regeneration  of  Roman  society,  225; 
as  a  father,  226;  marriages,  226; 
and  the  succession,  228;  family, 
229;  his  habits,  229;  character, 
230;  education,  231 ;  and  literature, 
232;  in  Vergil,  234;  in  Horace, 
239;  and  art,  243;  and  rebuilding  of 
Rome,  244,  248  ;  culture,  252  ;  and 
the  enlargement  of  the  Empire,  259 

Aurelian,  307 

Aurelius,  Marcus,  Antonine  dynasty, 
277  ;  philosophy  fashionable  under, 
279;  Galen,  his  state  physician, 
290  ;  portrait,  292,  294  ;  hostile  to 
Christianity,  302  ;  and  immortality, 
303 ;  Rome  under,  305 ;  and  the 
barbarians,  309,  311 

Ausonius,  316 

Austria,  217,  220 

Autonomy,  local,  284 

Aventine  Hill,  280 

Avernus,  Lake  of,  186 

Axiomitse,  307 



BA'ALBEK,  282,  295 

Bacchic  mysteries,  79 

Bacchus,  240 

Bactrians,  307 

Bsetica,  221 

Baiae,  134,  251,  257,  296;  Turner's 
picture  of,  283 

Bakery  account  from  Pompeii,  285 

Balearic  slingers,  98 

Balkans,  220 

Bank  rate,  166 

Bankrupts  and  the  senate,  103 

Banks,  64 

Banquets,  133,  136,  196 

Barberini  panel,  316 

Barcas,  the,  49 

Barea  Soranus,  273,  300 

Barristers,  298 

Batansea,  194 

Batavian  cavalry,  184 

Baths,  136,  196,  243,  261,  283 

Baths  of  Titus,  the,  293 

Battle-array,  29 

Beasts  for  the  arena,  133 

Bedriacum,  273 

Beja,  221 

Belgica,  210 

Bestia,  91,  92 

Bibulus,  iii 

Bithynia,  60,  193,  200 

"  Bithyniarchs,"  201 

Black  Sea,  186,  220,  297 

Blemyes,  307 

Boadicea,  219,  260 

Boeotia,  201 

Bohemia,  217 

Books,  131  ;  Cicero's  books,  134 

Bosco  Reale,  249 

Bosphorus,  194 

Brenner  Pass,  263 

Brennus,  199 

Brescia,  196 

Bribery  and  corruption,  79,  133 

Brickwork,  294 

Bridge,  marble,  196 

Brigantes,  the,  261,  262 

Britain,  Caesar's  expeditions  to,  117; 
Caesar  on,  150;  Augustus  and,  170, 
209,  210;  conquest  of,  259; 


empire-building  in,  260;  and 
Roman  civilisation,  261  ;  roads, 
262  ;  walls,  261,  262  ;  and  the 
"  Latin  right,"  299  ;  and  separate 
unity,  308;  diocese,  312  ;  deserted, 

Britannicus,  272 

Britons,  the,  114 

Bronze-work,  297 

Brotherhood  of  man,  302 

Brundisium,  145 

Bruttium,  45,  47 

Brutus  and  liberty,  33  ;  as  hero,  112; 
against  Caesar,  124;  and  the  assas- 
sination of  Cassar,  126;  and  the 
succession,  127;  fall  of,  128;  bust 
of,  157;  as  martyr,  173;  and 
Horace,  237 

Budgets  under  Augustus,  192 

Buffer  states,  198,  199,  214 

Building,  early,  19;  materials  (houses), 
135.  J53;  principles  of,  153; 
brickwork,  294  ;  villas,  295 

Bureaucracy,  171,  181,  270,  272,  276, 
278,  310 

Burgundians,  212,  213 

Byzantine  (Constantinople),  313 

Byzantine  art,  316 

Byzantine  Empire,  the,  313 

CADIZ,  49 

Caecilius,  76 

"  Caesar  "  (Emperor),  112 

"  Caesar  and  the  Roman  People,"  cult 
of,  207 

Caesar  Augusta  (Saragossa),  221 

Caesar,  Gaius  Julius,  adds  Gaul  to  the 
Empire,  60  ;  and  the  monarchy, 
100  ;  birth  and  lineage,  109;  as 
Pontifex  Maximus,  109;  and  the 
conspiracy  of  Catiline,  no;  praetor 
to  Spain,  no;  the]  Triumvirate, 
no;  becomes  Consul,  no;  con- 
quests of  Gaul,  in,  116  ;  honours 
paid  to,  by  poets  and  others,  112; 
account  of  the  Gallic  Wars,  112;  as 
historian,  113,  150;  his  greatness, 
113;  his  work,  114;  as  a  soldier, 
116;  and  Britain,  117,  150;  and 

Pompeius,  114, 119  ;  civil  war,  120  ; 
devotion  of  his  men,  121 ;  conquers 
at  Pharsalus,  121,  122;  in  Egypt, 
122;  and  Cleopatra,  122;  con- 
quests, 122,  123  ;  supporters,  124; 
reforms,  125;  kingship,  125;  slain, 
126;  his  will,  127  ;  wealth  of,  132  ; 
epileptic,  135;  wives,  138;  and 
Roman  history,  145 ;  as  orator, 
149;  his  Commentaries,  149;  por- 
traits, 157;  and  monarchy,  1 6 1 ; 
temple  to,  166;  The  Commentaries 
and  Germany,  214;  deified,  225; 
as  poet,  232. 

Caesar,  L.,  104 

Caesar-worship,  231,  267,  300 

Caesarea,  206,  268 

Caesarion,  122 

Caesars,  the,  254 

Calabria,  45 

Caledonians,  the,  261,  262 

Caligula  (Gaius  Caesar),  253,  268,  269, 
271,  272 

Callimachus,  239 

Callipolis,  286 

Calpurnia,  126 

Cameos,  249 

Campagna,  the  Roman,  12,  25; 
shepherds,  37 

Campania,  28,  34,  283 

Campanian  Road,  134 

Campus  Martius,  36,  153 

Camulodunum  (Colchester),  259,  260 

Candace,  205 

Candlestick,  the  seven  -  branched 
golden,  269 

Cannabce,  310 

Cannae,  51 

Canon  law,  299 

Cantabrians,  220 

Capital  punishment,  43 

Capitol,  the,  25,  153,  293,  307 

Capitoline  Hill,  282 

Cappadocia,  194,  267 

Capri,  229 

Capua,  51 

Caracalla,  292,  299,  306 

Caradoc,  260 

Carbo,  94 

Carducci  and  Catullus,  144 

Garrhas,  119,  197 

Carthage,  the  early  Romans  and,  1 3, 
17  ;  Roman  treaty  with,  348  B.C., 
26  ;  Pyrrhus  and  the  Carthaginians, 
46  ;  Carthaginian  Wars,  47  ;  First 
Punic  War,  48  ;  Second  Punic  War, 
49 ;  and  Hannibal,  50  ;  defeated, 
53  ;  Third  Punic  War,  57  ;  siege  and 
destruction,  58 ;  a  province,  59 ; 
colony  at,  88  ;  refounded  as  colony 
by  Augustus,  208;  Carthaginian 
invaders  of  Sicily,  209 

Cams,  308 

Carving  (food),  137 

Caspian  Sea,  213 

Cassius,  112,  126-128,  271 

Castle  of  St.  Angelo,  294  ' 

Catiline,  conspiracy  of,  no;  Cicero 
on,  147 

Cato  (the  Censor),  prayer  on  cutting 
a  grove  quoted,  40;  and  Carthage, 
57;  and  slaves,  71;  and  luxury, 
72  ;  and  prudishness,  80  ;  policy  of, 

Cato  the  younger  (of  Utica),  character, 

1 1 1  ;  and  the  end  of  the  Republic, 

108,  118;  death,  123;  wives,  138; 

and  Stoicism,  139;  and  the  senate, 

147 ;  austerity,  148 
Catullus,  104,  142,  232,  243 
Caudine  Pass,  the,  28 
Celibacy,  tax  on,  190,  226 
Celtic  religion,  221 
Celts,  the,  115 
Censors,  32,  72,  272 
Censorship  of  letters,  232 
Census-taking,  32,  167 
Ceres,  38,  39 
Chalons,  Battle  of,  314 
Chariot-racing,  279,  280,  314 
Charlemagne,  112 
Chastity,  33 
Chatti,  263 
Chauci,  216,  263 
Cheruscia,  216,  217,  218,  219 
Chester,  260 
Christianity  and  Caesar  worship,  201, 

300  ;  conflict  with  Mithraism,  299  ; 



Rome  and  the  establishment  of,  500  ; 
Stoicism  and,  300,  302  ;  con- 
founded with  Judaism,  300;  scruples 
of  Christians,  301 ;  proselytes,  301  ; 
inquisitions  and  martyrdoms,  301; 
Edict  of  Milan,  302  ;  hostility  of 
emperors,  302;  monotheism,  303; 
rites  and  saints  taken  from  paganism, 
303;  the  Church  and  the  Roman 
political  system,  304 ;  Constantine 
and,  313;  Rome  and  the  Church, 


Chronological  summary  of  Roman 
history,  317-324 

Chrysostom,  St.  John,  316 

Church  and  state,  315 

Churches,  Christian,  316 

Cicero,  Latinity  of,  9 ;  the  translation 
of,  10 ;  and  pleading  in  law,  43; 
and  Pompeius,  108;  oration  on 
Manilius,  109 ;  and  the  conspiracy 
of  Catiline,  no;  policy,  no;  exile, 
1 1 8,  127;  slain,  128;  his  gains  as 
governor  of  Cilicia,  131;  his  wealth, 
I3I.  134;  his  houses,  134;  and 
library,  134;  health,  135;  divorces 
his  wife,  138  ;  and  Plato,  139;  his 
influence  on  Latin  literature,  1 44 ; 
his  policy  and  rhetoric,  145;  his 
character,  145  •  creator  of  Latin 
prose,  146,  231;  his  style,  146;  as 
a  lawyer,  146;  oratory,  147;  politi- 
cal life,  148  ;  his  end,  148  ;  bust  of, 
157  ;  and  immortality,  231;  not  a 
client,  232 

Cicero,  Quintus,  124,  146 

Cilicia,  a  province,  59,  193;  200; 
pirate-state  at,  106 ;  Cicero's  gains 
as  governor,  131 

Cimbri,  the  invasion  by  the,  93 ; 
defeated  by  Marius,  94 

Cincinnatus,  33 

Cineas,  46 

Cinna  (consul),  104 

Circus  Maximus,  280 

Circuses,  243 

Cirta,  91 

Citizenship,  Roman,  27,  30,  299 

"City  Legion,"  184 


City  prefect,  182 

City-states,  the,  6,  27,  69,  278 

Civic  ardour,  284 

Civil  law  of  Rome,  298 

Civil  service,  the,  276 

Civil  War,  First,  120-123 

Civil  War,  Second,  128,  129 

Civil  wars,  restorations  after  the,  196 

Civilisation,  early  Roman,  34  ;  under 

the  Republic,  130;  under  Augustus, 


Classical  education,  291 
Classical  literature,  the  golden  age  of, 


Classicism,  9 
Claudian,  316 
Claudian  house,  the,  227 
Claudian  law,  132 
Claudian  Way,  220 
Claudii,  the,  24,  42,  72 
Claudius,  Suetonius  on,  162  ;  forbids 

Druidism,  211  ;  his  character,  254  ; 

best  of  the   Claudian  Caesars,  255  ; 

and    Messalina,    255,     256  ;     and 

Germany,   263  ;  and  Thrace,  265  ; 

as  Caesar,   271,    272;  death,  272; 

building  under,  293 
Claudius  Gothicus,  307 
Cleopatra    and     Caesar,     122  ;      and 

Antony,   126,   128,   129,  138,  203; 

and  Augustus,  164;  and  Herod  the 

Great,  205 

Cleopatra's  daughter,  208 
Clergy,  Christian,  311 
Clerks,  copying,  131 
Client  system,  72  ;  in  literature,  232 
Clodia,  138 

Clodius,  1 08,  in,  ii 8,  119 
Clcelia,  33 

Cohorts,  98;  urban,    186;   of  watch- 
men, 186 

Coinage,  early,  17;  copper,  34 
Coins    under    the     Republic,     154  ; 

portraits  on,  158;   legionary,  183; 

with   Parthian  suppliant,    198;   for 

Judeea,  207  ;  of  Asia  Minor,  249 
Colchester,  259,  260 
Collecting  art  objects,  225,  248 
"Collegia,"  284 


Collegial  system,  31 

Colline  Gate,  the,  105 

Coloni  (tillers  of  the  soil),  311 

Colonia  Agrippinensis  (Cologne),  215, 
219,  263 

Colonnades,  196,  243,  250 

Colosseum,  the,  282,  293 

Columella,  290 

Columns  in  architecture,  154 

Comedy,  75~77 

Comitatus,  the,  312 

Comitia,  25,  30,  36,  86,  174,  179 

Commagene,  194,  199 

Commander  oflegions,  134 

Commerce,  131 

Commodus,  264,  277 

Como,  283,  296 

Companies,  commercial,  131 

Consilium,  176 

Constantine,  Arch  of,  280,  316; 
Basilica  of,  282 

Constantine,  Emperor,  Caesar  and, 
112  ;  and  a  new  senate,  179;  and 
Christianity,  302,  313;  and  tillers 
of  the  soil,  311;  founds  Constanti- 
nople, 313 

Constantinople  founded,  313;  mosaics 
of,  316 

Constitution  of  ancient  Rome,  30 

Consuls,  25,  30,  31,  63,  125,  134, 
181,  193 

Copper  coinage,  34,  154 

Coptos,  204 

Corduba,  220 

Cordus,  Cremutius,  271 

Corinth  destroyed,  57,  58 ;  restored 
by  Julius  Caesar,  302  ;  and  Greek 
art,  247 

Corinthian  column,  the,  250 

Corn,  duty  on,  273 

Corn-supply,  69,  109,  181,  188,  190, 
209,  308 

Corn  trust,  Sicilian,  109 

Cornelia,  mother  of  the  Gracchi,  84 
Cornelia,  daughter  of  Scribonia,24o 
Cornelii,  the,  72 
Corocota   (Gaius   Julius    Caracuttus), 


"Correctors,"  276 

Corsica,  48,  59,  193 

Coryphaeus,  280 

Courage  an  early  Roman  virtue,  33 

Crassus,  Marcus,  subdues  the  rising  of 
the  slaves,  106  ;  defeated  at  Carrhae, 
107,  119;  his  wealth,  107,  132; 
and  Caesar,  no,  114,  118;  the  con- 
spiracy of  Catiline,  no 

Crassus  (orator),  84,  104 

Cremera,  Battle  of,  24 

Cremona,  53 

Cretan  archers,  98 

Crete,  38,  60,  193,  208 

Cross,  the,  Constantine  and,  313 

Cruttwell,  C.  T.,  on  Ovid,  240 

Ctesiphon,  267 

Culture  and  religion,  35 

Cumae,  134 

Cura  annonce,  190 

"Curators,"  276 

Curiales,  311 

Curies,  30. 

Curtius,  Quintus,  33 

Curule  chair,  the,  22 

Customs  duties,  272 

Cybele,  the  worship  of,  79 

Cyclades,  the,  201 

Cymbeline,  259 

Cynics,  the,  302 

Cynocephalae,  55 

Cyprus,  178,  193,  200 

Cyrenaica,  193,  208 

Cyrene,  60,  208,  268 

Cytheris,  126,  138 

DACIA,  265,  266,  267,  312 

Dalmatia,  193,  265 

Dalmatian  War,  187 

Damascus,  268 

Danish  shores,  213 

Dante  and  Caesar,  112;  Dante's  debt 

to  Roman  poets,  289 
Danube,  the,  197,  218,  219,  220,  263, 

264,  265,  306,  309,  314 
Danube  frontier,  220 
Dead,  burial  of  the,  34 
Death,  303 
Death-duties,  189 
Death-masks,  248 



Debtors,  punishment  of,  43 

Decebalus,  265 

Decemviri,  42 

Decius,  301 

Decuriones,  195,  311 

"Delation,"  204,  272,  275,  277 

Delphi,  101,  aoi 

Delphic  Amphictyony,  the,  202 

Demetrius,  5 1 

Democracy,  the  Gracchi  and,  86,  90 ; 

Julius  Caesar  and,  109 
Democritus,  139 
Denarius,  silver,  207 
Despotism,  benevolent,  311 
Development  fund,  276 
Diana,  38,  39,  238 
Diana  of  Ephesus,  Temple  of,  201 
Dictator,  125 

Dill,  Dr.  Samuel,  on  Pliny,  279,  284 
Dining,  133 
Dinner-parties,  136 
Dio  Cassius,  168,  182 
Dio  Chrysostom,  290 
"  Dioceses,"  312 
Diocletian,  271,  301,  310,  311 
Diocletian,  palace  of,  316 
Diplomacy,  Roman,  26 
Discipline,  Roman,  26,  183;  of  army, 


Divination,  Etruscan,  21 

Divodurum,  212 

Divorce,  80,  136,  226 

Docks,  1 86 

Domitian,  unpopular,  177;  and 
Britain,  261;  and  imperial  expan- 
sion, 264;  and  Decebalus,  265;  a 
tyrant,  274;  and  the  senate,  274; 
assassination,  275;  and  Titus,  293 

Doric  architecture,  153  ;  column,  250 

Drama,  beginnings,  73;  Greek  trage- 
dies translated  for  Roman  stage, 
75  ;  comedies,  75;  under  the  Re- 
public, 137 

Drinking,  136 

Druidism,  114,  211,  259 

Drusus,  184,  215,  227,  239 

Drusus,  M.  Livius,  102 

Dukes  (dux),  312 

Durocortorum,  212 


Dutch  horsemen,  184 
Dutch  shores,  213 
Dutch  territory,  216 
Duties,  customs,  212,  273 
Duumviri,  195 
Dyarchy,  the,  177,  275 

EAGLE,  the  silver  (standard),  98 
Eagles,  Roman,  captured,  197 
East,  the,  and  Roman  art,  249 
Eating,  136 
Eburacum  (York),  261 
Edict  of  Milan,  302 
Edicts,  perpetual,  298,  299 
Education,  beginnings,  74 ;  under  the 
Republic,  132  ;  in  Gaul,  211  ;  and 
schools    in    200    A.D.,    280 ;   Pliny 
endows  a   secondary  school,   283; 
and    schools    under    the    Empire, 

Egnatius  Rufus,  180 
Egypt  allied  against  Philip  of  Macedon, 
55  ;  conquered  by  Octavian  (Augus- 
tus), 60,   130,  1 66;  Pompeius  and 
Cassar  in,   122;   private  possession 
of    Augustus,    170,     172;    prefect 
of,    1 80,    194;    corn-supply,    190; 
wealth,  202  ;  under  Augustus,  203; 
religion,    203;    taxes,    203;  canals 
and  irrigation,  203;  reservoirs,  204  ; 
position  of  prefect,  204  ;  and  Greek 
art,  247  ;  rebels  in  the  triumph  of 
Aurelian,  307  ;  a  diocese,  312 
Elagabalus,  306 
Elbe,  the,  216,  217,  218 
Election  posters,  285 
Electra  (sculpture),  249,  250 
Elephantine,  Nilometer  at,  204 
Elephants,  46 

Eleusinian  mysteries,  55,  231 
Emesa,  194,  199;  fetish-stone,  306 
Empire-building,  28,  44,  211 
Empire,     the     early,     history,     162; 
establishment  of,   168;  illegitimate, 
254;  during  its  first  century,  259; 
limits  of  the,  269  ;  junior  colleagues 
to  Caesar,   276;   weak    through    its 
vastness,  308  ;  decay,  313  ;  divided, 
313;  dismembered,  314 


Empire,  the  Eastern,  313 

Ems,  216,  264 

Ennius,  76,  78,  138,  236 

Ephesus,  201,  247,  282 

Epictetus,  302 

Epicurus,  139 

Epirot  phalanx,  46 

Equality,  33,  71 

Equestrian  class  (Equites),  64,  88,  97, 

Eros  (Egyptian  tax-gatherer),  191 

Esquiline  Camp,  258 

Esquiline  Hill,  25 

Ethics,  Christian,  302,  303 

Etruria,  conquests,  28;  Sullan  colonists 
in,  no 

Etruscans,  the,  neighbours  at  be- 
ginning of  Rome,  13;  piracy,  13, 
17;  remains,  14,  20;  conquest  of 
Rome,  19;  their  origin,  so;  art, 
20,  22;  character,  21;  divination, 
21  ;  costumes,  22  ;  decline  of  the 
Etruscan  power,  23  ;  Etruscan 
princes  of  Rome,  20,  23  ;  enemy  of 
Rome,  28;  gods,  39;  portraiture, 
152,  156;  and  Roman  architecture, 
153 ;  and  Roman  art,  248 

Eudsemones,  307 

Euhemerism,  201 

Euphrates,  the,  197,  267 

Europe,  Rome  and  the  making  of,  5  ; 
Germany  and  the  history  of,  213 

Extortion,  133,  191,  209,  212,  273 

Extravagances,  279 

Fabii,  the,  24,  72 
Fabius,  Pictor,  150 
Fabius,  Quintus,  51 
Family,  the,  225 
Famine,  190 
Farnese  Palace,  251 
"Father  of  his  country,"  179 
Fatherhood,  226 
Fatherhood  of  God,  303 
Fathers,  power  of,  25 
Fauns,  37 
Faustina,  224 
Feasting,  133,  136 
Felix,  206 

Fencing,  98 

Ferrero,  Signor  G.,  on  Caesar's  charac- 
ter, 112;  on  Augustus,  199;  and 
Gaul,  210 

Festivals,  early  Roman,  36 

Festus,  207 

Fever,  malarial,  135 

Fifth  Legion,  215 

Finance,  beginnings,  66  ;  under 
Augustus,  187  ;  gifts,  188  ;  pro- 
perty-tax and  death-duties,  189  ;  of 
the  senate,  192 

Financial  corruption,  64 

Financiers,  194 

Fire-brigade,  181,  186 

Flamines,  38 

Flaminian  Way,  196 

Flaminii,  the,  72 

Flamininus,  55 

Flavian  age,  the,  293 

Flavian  dynasty,  274 

Flax,  2 1 2 

Flora,  38,  39 

Footmen,  137 

Fordicidia,  40 

Formise,  134 

Fortifications,  frontier,  261,  262, 

Fortuna  Virilis,  39;  Temple  of,  153, 


Fortune-hunters,  226 
Forum,  the,  33,  252 
Forum  Julii  (Frejus),  187 
Forums,  280,  282 
Fowler,  W.  Warde,  35 
France,  roads  of,  211 
Frankfort,  264 
Franks,  212,  213,  307,  309 
Fratres  Arvales,  39 
Frazer,  J.  G.,  35 
"  Free  "  states,  60 
Freedmen,  181 
Freeman,  E.  A.,  19 
Frejus,  187 
French     Revolution,    the,    and     the 

Roman  Republic,  71 
Frescoes,  296 
Friezes,  246 
Frisians,  216 



Frontiers,  223;  fortified,  261  ;  natural, 


Fulvia,  126,  127,  129,  138,  149 
Furniture,  297 

GABII,  25 

Gabinian  Law,  109 

Gadara,  205 

Gades,  220,  282 

Gaetulian  nomads,  208 

Gaius  (Emperor).    See  Caligula 

Gaius,  over-lord  in  Asia,  195;  and  the 
Parthian  king,  200 ;  and  the  suc- 
cession, 228  ;  tutor  and  servants  of, 

Gaius,  "Institutes"  of,  299 

Galatia,  193,  199 

Galatians,  184 

Galba,  179,  258,  273 

Galen,  290 

Galilee,  194,  206,  268 

Gallia.     See  Gaul 

Gallienus,  306,  307 

Gallus,  Cornelius,  203,  204,  232,  234 

Gamaliel,  207 

Games,  public,  137 

Gardening,  296 

Gardthausen,  Dr.,  on  Augustus,  162  ; 
on  the  Roman  Army  and  the  British 
Empire,  186 

Gaul.  The  Gauls  and  Etruria,  23, 
28  ;  Gallic  invasion  of  390  B.C.,  25, 
26;  conquest  of  the  Gauls,  49; 
allies  of  Hannibal,  50;  revolt  of  the 
Gauls,  53,  117;  Southern  Gaul,  59  ; 
Cisalpine  Gaul,  60 ;  Gallia  Nar- 
bonensis, 59,193,209;  Gallia Comata, 
60,  210;  conquest  by  Caesar,  in  ; 
Caesar  and  the  Gallic  wars,  112; 
the  Gauls,  time  of  Caesar,  114; 
politics,  116;  and  Augustus,  169, 
172;  province,  193;  Gauls  in  Galatia, 
199;  under  Augustus,  209-211; 
gods,  2 1 1  •  tribes,  211;  German 
inroads,  215;  revolt  against  Nero, 
257  ;  and  Britain,  259  ;  civilisation, 
262,  nationality,  262  ;  "  Empire  of 
the  Gauls,"  262  ;  Gallic  communities 
and  the  "Latin  right,"  299;  Gallic 


empire  destroyed,  307  ;  unity,  308  ; 
diocese,  312 

Geese,  sacred,  59 

Gems,  portraits  on,  158 

Generosity,  public,  284 

Genius  (luck),  37,  156 

Geographical  knowledge,  ancient,  59 

Germanicus  as  General  in  Germany, 
184,217,  218,219,263;  Augustus 
and  the  children  of,  226;  the 
poisoning  of,  255 

Germany.  Caesar  and  the  Germans, 
117;  German  slaves  bodyguard, 
184;  German  revolt,  184;  pro- 
vince Germania,  193  ;  Augustus 
and,  197,  212;  and  its  conquest, 
214-220;  social  system  and  tribes, 
214;  inroads  into  Gaul,  215;  un- 
conquered,  263 ;  Germans  in  the 
triumph  of  Aurelian,  307  ;  unity, 

Ghosts  (Lemures),  37 

Gibbon,  Edward,  influence  of,  on  view 
of  Roman  history,  3 ;  and  the 
Roman  imperial  system,  277 

Gladiatorial  combats,  74 

Gladiators,  71,  131,  133,  137,  185, 
280,  282 

Glaucia,  95 

Gluttony,  136,  279 

Glycon,  156 

Gods,  loves  of  the,  in  Ovid,  240 

Gods,  Roman.     See  Religion 

Gold  mines  of  Macedon,  54,  58 

Golden  House,  the,  of  Nero,  256,  293 

Goldsmith  art,  249 

Gordians,  the,  306 

Goths,  the,  213,  299,  307,  309,  314 

Government,  Roman,  benevolent,  61  ; 
local  autonomy  to  conquered  terri- 
tories, 62  ;  want  of  policy  by  senate, 

Governors,  Roman,  63,  134 

Gracchi,  the,  84 

Gracchus,  Gaius,  takes  up  reform,  87  ; 
elected  a  tribune,  88  ;  his  policy, 
88-89  j  murdered,  89 

Gracchus,  Tiberius,  84  ;  training,  85  ; 
and  the  land,  85,  86;  and  de- 


mocracy,  86  ;  elected  a  tribune,  86 ; 
murdered,  87 

Grseco-Roman  culture  under  Augustus, 
231  ;  and  Roman  literature,  288 

Gravitas,  43 

Greece,  resemblances  between  Rome 
and,  i  ;  Greece  and  expansion,  6  • 
influence  of,  on  Rome,  72,  74,  81 ; 
influence  of,  on  Roman  literature, 
151  ;  and  Roman  architecture,  153, 
250,  251  ;  influence  of,  on  por- 
traiture, 157;  Roman  veneration 
for  Greece,  201  ;  and  Roman  edu- 
cation, 201  ;  position  of,  in  the 
Roman  Empire,  201;  Greek  reli- 
gion, 207  ;  and  Roman  art,  243-252 

Greek  cities,  1 94 

Greek  culture,  extent  of,  200 ;  in 
Rome,  231 

Greek  drama  for  the  Roman  stage,  75, 


Greek  mythology  and  Roman  religion, 

35.  39 

Greek  philosophy  in  Rome,  139 
Greek  sculpture  in  Rome,  155 
Grotius,  298 
Grove,  prayer  on  cutting  down  a,  40  ; 

sacred,  211 
Griiningen,  264 
Guilds  (collegia),  284,  311 
Gundobald,  314 

HADRIAN  visits  Britain,  261;  strength- 
ens the  Limes  Trans-Rhenanus,  264; 
and  the  Parthians,  267 ;  as  Em- 
peror, 275,  276;  life  under,  279; 
freedom  of  letters  under,  163,  289; 
and  Greek  art,  293  ;  and  law,  299; 
and  the  army,  310 

Hadrian,  wall  of,  261 

Hadrian's  villa,  296 

Hamilcar,  49 

Hannibal,  genius  of,  47 ;  and  foreign 
conquest,  49 ;  becomes  leader  of 
the  Carthaginians,  50  ;  his  greatness 
and  character,  50  ;  march  over  the 
Alps,  50;  as  a  strategist,  51  ;  de- 
feats, 52,  53;  Antiochus  and,  56 

Harbour  dues,  61 

Harbours,  187 

Hasdrubal,  50,  52 

Head,  Barclay,  on  Roman  coins,  154 

Heating  of  houses,  280 

Heliopolis.     See  Ba'albek 

"  Helladarch,"  202 

Hellenism,  10,  72,  74 

Helvetians,  the,  94,  in 

Heraclea,  46 

Herculaneum,  297 

Hercules,  the  Farnese,  156 

Hercules,  Temple  of,  250 

Hermann.     See  Arminius 

Hermodorus,  153 

Herod  Antipas,  206 

Herod  the  Great,  184,  198,  205,  206 

Herodes  Atticus,  284 

Hesiod,  234 

Hexameter,  the  Latin,  78,  232 

Hiberi,  307 

Hiero  of  Syracuse,  23,  51,  61 

Hildesheim,  249 

Hippocrates,  290 

Hirpinus,  280 

Hispania  Baetica,  193 

Hispania.     See  Spain 

Historians,  138,  150,  305 

Historical  reliefs  (sculpture),  248 

History,  the  arts  and  politics  in,  231 

History,  early  Roman,  worthlessness 
of,  24  ;  Tacitus  and  Roman  history, 
2S3i  289  ;  lack  of  interest,  288 

Holland,  North,  216 

Holy  of  Holies,  207 

Homer's  Odyssey  translated,  74 

Honoria,  314 

Horace  quoted  on  the  past  of  Rome, 
7  ;  Latinity  of,  9  ;  on  Hannibal, 
52  ;  his  health,  136  ;  on  the  Portus 
Julius,  187  ;  and  the  Parthians,  197, 
199  ;  and  Arabia  Felix,  204  ;  on  the 
conquest  of  Britain,  209 ;  educated 
in  Greece,  237  ;  and  Csesarism,  237  ; 
Satires,  237 ;  lyrical  odes,  237 ; 
drama,  238  ;  Odes,  238  ;  Century 
Hymn,  238;  Secular  Games,  238; 
celebrates  Augustus,  239  ;  pictures 
the  life  of  Rome,  239  ;  losses  in  the 
Civil  War,  243  ;  and  satire,  289 



Horatii,  24 

Horatius  and    the    saving   of   Rome, 

19.  33 

Hortensius,  138 
Houses,  134,  135,  152,  296 
Humanitarianism,  303 
Huns,  the,  214,  314 

ICENI,  the,  260 

Ic.tinus,  295 

Idealism  in  Greek  art,  158 

Ides  of  March,  36,  126 

Idistavisus,  219,  263 

Illyria,  48 

Illyrian  War,  166;  revolt,  217 

Illyricum,  193,  312 

Imagines,  156,  158 

Immortality,  303 

Imperator,  183 

Imperial  administration  centralised, 
278;  junior  colleagues  to  Caesar, 
276  ;  imperial  succession,  306 

Imperium,  31 

India,  trade  with,  204  ;  Greek  art,  247 

Informers.     See  "  Delation  " 

Inquisitions,  301 

Inscriptions  from  Pompeii,  285 

International  law,  298 

Intrigue,  224,  229 

Ionic  columns,  154 

Ireland,  261 

"  Irene,"  169 

Irish,  Gallic  Celts  and  the,  compared, 


Isis,  39,  139,  203;  priests  of,  282 

Isthmian  games,  55 

Italian  "  allies  "  and  the  franchise,  102 

Italians,  citizen  rights  for,  88-89 

Italian,  the  modern,  and  the  ancient 
Roman  compared,  13 

Italy,  divisions  of,  12  ;  invasions,  15  ; 
Civil  War,  106;  under  Augustus, 
196;  colonies  in,  196;  a  province, 
278,  312  ;  and  the  barbarians,  314 

Ivories,  Byzantine,  316 

JAMES,  WM.,  on  war,  54 
Janus,  38,  154,  1 66 
Jerome  and  Lucretius,  142 


Jerusalem,   Caesar   and,    123;    under 
Augustus  and  the  Herods,  205,  206, 

207  ;  destruction  of,  268 
Jesus  Christ,  205,  206 
Jewellery,  297 

Jewish  law,  207  ;  religion,  207 

Jews  in   the  Roman  provinces,   200, 

208  •    under    Augustus,   205-207  ; 
under  the  Empire,   267-269.    See 
also  Judaea 

John,  St.,  and  Philo,  300 

Johnson,  Dr.,  and  Latin,  8 

Juba,  King,  122,  123,  208 

Judaea,  province,  194;  under  Augustus, 

205-207;  government  and  conquest, 

267,  268 
Judaism,  300 
Jugurtha,  84,  91-93 
Julia    (daughter   of    Augustus),    175, 

227,  228,  229,  230 
Julia  (the  younger),  Ovid  and,    241, 


Julian  Alps,  220 
Julian  laws,  226 
Julianus,  Salvius,  299 
Julii,  the,  72 
Julius  Nicanor,  201 
Juno,  39 

Jupiter,  38,  39,  79,  139,  240,  307 
Jupiter  Capitolinus,  Temple  of,   152, 

iS3,  269,  282 
Jupiter,  Temple   of,  in  Mount  Zion, 


Jurisprudences,  298 
Jus   fetiale,    298;  jus  gentium,    298; 

jus  naturae,  298 
Justice,  270,  272 
Justinian,  299,  315 
Juvenal  and  emperors,  n,  138,  163, 

242,    278;     Latin   of,    287;     and 

satire,  289  ;  and  ethics,  303 

KENT,  150 
King,  the,  41 
Kingship,  early,  19 
Knuckle-bones,  229 

LABIENUS,  121,  123 
Labour,  free,  and  slavery,  71 


Lacedsemon,  201 

Lacerna,  280 

Lacinian  Promontory,  the,  45 

Laconia,  Northern,  201 

Lahn,  river,  264 

Lampridius,  305 

Land  as  property,  34;  land  specula- 
tion, 67,  131  ;  neglect  of  the,  85; 
Tiberius  Gracchus  and,  87 ;  Gaius 
Gracchus  and,  88 ;  Marius  and, 
95 ;  Licinian  land  law,  86  ;  land- 
tax  in  Gaul,  190;  land  system  of 
Gaul,  211 

Langobardi.     See  Lombards 

Lares,  37 

Latin,  use  of,  9  ;  culture,  9 ;  eclipse  of 
Latin  studies,  9 

Latin  festival,  38 

Latin  League,  the,  25,  26,  27 

Latin  period,  the  (literature),  146 

"  Latin  right,"  299 

Latin  and  Teutonic  races,  contest 
between,  213 

Latinism,  8 

Latium,  Plain  of,  25 

Law,  Roman  devotion  to,  33 ;  early 
Roman,  41-43;  in  Gaul,  211; 
Julian  laws,  225-226;  under  the 
Empire,  297-299;  a  legacy  to  the 
world,  315 

Legates,  193 

Legion,  composition  of  a,  98,  172 

Legionaries,  the,  98 

Legiones  (Leon),  221 

Lemures,  37 

Leon,  221 

Lepidus,  128,  163 

Lesbia,  143 

Levies  for  army,  97 

Lex,  the,  179 

Lex  Claudia,  67 

Liberty,  love  of,  33;  religious,  270 

Libraries,  168,  243,  283 

Licinian  laws,  86 

Licinius  (tax-gatherer  in  Gaul),   191, 


Licinius  Macer  (annalist),  150 
Lictors,  30,  282 
Ligurian  cavalry,  98 

Lilybseum,  46 

Limes  Trans-Rhenanus,  264  ;  Rhsetian, 

Linz,  264 

Lippe,  216 

Literature,  early  Roman,  34 ;  begin- 
nings of,  75  ;  of  the  Republic,  142- 
151  ;  in  Rome  under  Augustus, 
231 ;  patrons,  232  ;  the  State  and, 
241,  243;  golden  age  of  ("  Augus- 
tan"), 242;  popularity  of,  under 
the  Empire,  286  ;  and  tyranny,  287, 
its  eclipse,  287;  freedom  of,  289; 
lack  of  originality,  291 

Livia  Drusilla,  227,  228 

Livia,  house  of,  296 

Livii,  the,  72 

Livius  Andronicus,  74 

Livy  and  the  foundation  of  Rome, 
1 7  ;  and  political  equality,  30 ;  as 
historian,  150,  151 ;  freedom  ac- 
corded to,  232  ;  and  Tacitus  com- 
pared, 289 

Loans,  131 

Local  government  in  Roman  provinces, 

Logos,  the  Divine,  300 

Lombards,  213,  217 

London  (Londinium),  260,  282 

London,  modern,  Roman  architecture 
in,  251 

Longinus,  94 

Lorch,  264 

Lucan,  Latinity  of,  9 ;  and  Spain, 
220,  290  ;  and  republicanism,  242, 
273  ;  the  Pharsalia,  288 

Lucca,  conference  at,  119 

Lucceius,  145 

Lucian,  290 

Lucilius,  237 

Lucius,  228 

Lucretia,  33 

Lucretius  and  Epicurean  philosophy, 
139;  quoted,  140,  141;  as  poet, 
141,  142,  243;  a  free  poet,  232; 
Vergil's  use  of,  236 

Lucrine  Lake,  186 

Lucullus,  153 

Lucullus,  gardens  of,  255 



Ludians,  307 

Lugdunensis,  210 

Lugdunum    (Lyons),  210,    211,  262, 


Lupercalia,  125 
Lusitania,  221 
Lutetia,  211 
Luxury,  72,  134,  136 
Lycaonia,  193 
Lycia,  194 

Lyons.     See  Lugdunum 
Lytton,  Lord,  279 

MAAS,  the,  263 

Macedonia,    56,    59,    61,    193,    202, 


Macedonian  War,  Second,  54 
Macedonian  War,  Third,  65 
Macrobius,  133 
Maecenas,  Octavian's  agent  at  Rome, 

129,   165;  his  rank,   181 ;  a  poet, 

232  ;  and  literary  patronage,  233  ; 

and  Vergil,  234;  and  Horace,  237, 


Magistracy,  the,  41,  72;  magistracies, 

Magistrates,    30,    32,    62,    179,   181, 

190, 311 
Magnesia,  56 
Mainz,  216,  219,  263 
Maison  Carree,  251 
Mamurra,  135 
Manes,  37 

Manilius  (tribune),  109 
Maniples,    battle   formation,    29,   97; 

number  of  men,  98 
Mantua,  Vergil  and,  233,  234 
Marble,  188 

Marbod,  King,  217,  219 
Marcellus,  nephew  of  Augustus,  1 66  ; 

probable    successor    to    Augustus, 

175  ;  married  to  Julia,  227  ;  death, 

228  ;  in  Vergil,  235 
Marcellus  opposed  to  Caesar,  118,  120 
Marcellus,  Theatre  of,  251,  293 
Marcomanni,  217 
Marcomannia,  309 
Marcus,  164 
Marius,  Gaius,  and  reform,  90 ;  chosen 


as  officer  against  Jugurtha,  93 ; 
elected  consul,  93 ;  commands  the 
army  in  Africa,  93 ;  re-elected 
consul,  94  ;  chief  magistrate  of  the 
state,  94 ;  defeats  the  Teutons  and 
Cimbri,  94 ;  and  the  land,  95 ; 
and  the  senate,  95  ;  and  a  pro- 
fessional army,  96  ;  massacre  by, 
and  death,  104  ;  Caesar  and,  109 

Marius  the  younger,  105 

Mark  Antony.     See  Antony 

Marriage,  80;  marriage  laws,  226 

Mars,  36 

Mars,  priests  of.     See  Salii 

Mars  the  Avenger,  198;  Temple  of, 

Mars'  woodpeckers,  38 

Marsians,  13,  28 

Martial,  220,  278,  289 

Martyrdoms  of  Christians,  301 

Masinissa,  57,  208 

Mater  Matuta,  shrine  of,  152,  250 

Materialism  and  religion,  139 

Mau,  Prof.,  296 

Mauretania,  194,  208,  269 

Mausoleum,  friezes  of  the,  246 

Maxentius,  302 

Maximin  the  Thracian,  179,  306 

Media  Atropatene,  199 

Medicine,  290 

Mediomatrici,  the,  212 

Mediterranean  fleet,  186 

Mediterranean,  Roman  command  of 
the,  56 

Mediterranean  worship,  prehistoric,  38 

Melville,  G.  J.  W.,  279 

Memmius,  92 

Menander,  76 

Mercury,  39 

Merida,  221 

Mesopotamia,  107,  267 

Messalina,  138,  224,  255 

Messalla,  M.  Valerius,  233,  240 

Messengers,  imperial,  196 

Messiah,  the,  269 

"Messianic  Eclogue,"  Vergil's,  160 

Messina,  47,  209 

Metaphysics,  300 

Metaurus,  River,  52 


Metellus  family,  75 

Metellus,  Q.,  92,  95,  153 

Metellus,  Q.  Cascilius,  226 

Metz,  212 

Meyer,  Dr.  Edouard,  171 

Michael  Angelo,  244,  251 

Milan,  Edict  of,  302,  313 

Militarism,  302 

Military  despotism,  183 

Military  service  under  Gaius  Gracchus, 
88;  under  the  Republic,  96-97; 
Roman  citizens  and,  184;  Italians 
and,  196;  Jews  exempt,  268;  bar- 
barians and,  311 

Milo,  119 

Milvian  Bridge,  313 

Minden,  219 

Minerals,  188 

Minerva,  39,  79 

Mines,  117,  131,  221;  in  Gaul,  212 

Mint  at  Lyons,  211 

Misenum,  186 

Mithradates,  King  of  Pontus,  60, 103 ; 
massacre  by,  6  5 ;  duration  of  war 
against,  107:  defeated  by  Pompeius, 
109;  portrait  on  coin,  158 

Mithradatic  War,  103 

Mithraism,  201,  299,  308 

Modena,  163 

Mcesia,  194,  220,  265 

Mogontiacum  (Mainz),  263 

Moles  Hadriani,  294 

Mommsen,  Theodor,  on  Greece  and 
Rome,  10  ;  on  Roman  religion,  40 ; 
on  Roman  luxury,  72  ;  on  Cassar, 
112;  on  the  Gauls,  115;  on 
Augustus,  198 

Monaco,  monument  to  Augustus  at, 

Monarchy,  Caesar  and,  124;  hereditary, 
175;  Augustus  and  the,  183;  growth 
of,  277 

Money,  313 

Monotheism,  207,  303 

Morality,  79,  136,  138 

Morocco.     See  Mauretania 

Mosaics,  158,  247,  296,  316 

Moselle,  the,  215 

Mucianus,  274 

Mule  and  tent  money,  190 
Mummius,  155,  247 
Munda,  123 

Municipal  government,  284 
Municipal  life,  195 
Municipal  senators,  311 
Municipia,  28 
Mural  painting,  152 
Music  in  schools,  286 
Musonius  Rufus,  302 
Mysia.     See  Moesia 
Mythology,  early  Roman,  36,  37,  38. 
See  also  Religion 


Nsevius,  75 

Naples,  134,  251,  296 

Naples,  Bay  of,  283 

Narbonne,  210 

Narcissus,  256 

Nations,  wandering  of  the,  309 

Natural  law,  298 

Nature-worship,  240 

Navy,  48,  186,  187 

Neolithic  culture,  14 

Nepos,  150 

Nero,  Suetonius  on,  162,  256,  306; 
unpopular,  177;  Petronius  satirises, 
242 ;  the  historians  and,  254  ;  his 
Golden  House,  256  ;  murders,  256  ; 
attempts  upon  his  mother's  life,  257  ; 
story  of  his  death,  257  ;  posthumous 
honours,  259  ;  and  the  Jews,  268  ; 
accession,  272;  administration,  272- 
273  ;  his  fall,  273  ;  entertainments, 
279;  tyranny,  287;  and  Seneca, 
291 ;  Greek  curio-hunting,  293  ; 
Christian  persecution,  301 

Nero,  Claudius,  227 

Nero,  colossus  of,  282 

Nerva,  179,  275,  276,  289 

Nicolaus,  206 

Nicomedia,  312 

Nicopolis,  202 

Nile,  the,  204 

Ninth  Legion,  122,  260 

Niobe,  241 

Nismes,  Temple  of,  251 

Nobility,  223,  224 



Nola,  io5 

Nomads,  Northern,  197 
Noricum,  194,  220 
Northern    descents    on    the    Mediter- 
ranean peoples,  213 
Numa,  19 
Numantia,  85 
Numidia,  92,  208 
Numidian  cavalry,  52,  98 
Nymphs,  37 

OCEAN,  the,  210,  213,  217 

Octavia,  126,  129,  138,  175,  224, 
228,  235 

Octavius,  (tribune),  87 

Octavius,  Octavian.     See  Augustus 

Odenathus,  307 

Odoacer,  314 

Officialism.     See  Bureaucracy 

Oil,  free,  308 

Olympia,  201 

Olympian  mythology,  207,  240 

Omens,  32,  139 

Opimius,  L.,  92 

Ops  Consiva,  37,  38 

Oratory,  144,  147,  148 

Orestes  (sculpture),  249 

Oriens,  312 

Ornament  in  sculpture,  249  ;  painted, 

Orodes,  200 

Osiris,  203 

Ostia,  12,  27,  255 

Otho,  273 

Ovid,  Latinity  of,  9;  and  Augustus, 
169;  and  the  defeat  of  Parthia, 
199;  and  the  gods,  225;  an  im- 
moral writer,  240  ;  and  the  loves  of 
the  gods,  240  ;  and  nature-worship, 
240 ;  typical  of  the  civilisation  of 
his  day,  241 ;  as  a  barrister,  241  ; 
banishment,  242  ;  and  the  younger 
Julia,  242  ;  his  character,  242 

Oysters,  Lucrine,  187 

PACUVIUS,  76,  138 
Pagan-Christian  rites,  304 
Painting  (art),  152,  296 
Pais,  Prof.  Ettore,  42 


Palatine  Hill,  25,  280 

Palatine,  the,  168 

Palazzo  dei  Conservatori,  294 

Pales  (god),  36 

Palestine,  268 

Palmyra,  282,  295,  306,  307,  308 

Pamphylia,  193 

Pannonia,  193,  220 

Pannonian  and    Illyrian    revolt,   184, 


Pantheon,  the,  251,  294 
Paphlagonia,  193 
Parilia,  36 
Paris,  211 
Parisii,  the,  211 
Parthenon  frieze,  249 
Parthia,  247,  266,  267,  269 
Parthians,  the,   107,  125,   129,   197- 

200,  259 
Party  system  started  by  the  Gracchi, 


Pasiteles,  155 
Passports,  196 
"  Patavinity,"  1 5 1 
Patras,  202 

Patriarchal  system,  25,  26 
Patricians,   14,  25,  30,  43,  167,  272, 


Patriciate,  the,  224 

Patriotism,  231 

Patronage  in  literature,  232 

Patrons  of  art,  246,  247 

Patronus,  or  champion,  176,  195 

Paul,  St.,  207,  300 ;  appeal  to  Caesar, 

Paulinus,  Suetonius,  260 

Pausanias,  290 

"Pax,"  1 66 

Pax  Augusta,  209 

Pax  Julia  (Beja),  221 

Pax  Romana,  61,  186 

Peace  under  Augustus,  166;  Augus- 
tan Altar  of  Peace  ("Tellus  Group"), 
244,  245,  248,  251  ;  in  the  Anto- 
nine  age,  303 ;  and  defence,  309 

Pelignians,  13 

Penates,  37 

Pensions  for  soldiers,  99,  185 

People,  the,  179 


Peraea,  194 

Pergamum,  55  ;  Attalids  of,  246 

Pericles,  157 

Perseus,  56 

Persians,  307 

Perspective  in  sculpture,  248 

Pertinax,  306 

Perugia,  129,  196 

Perusine  War,  227 

Peter,  St.,  300 

Petronius    Arbiter,    138,    242,    278, 


Petronius  the  legate,  205 
Pharisaism,  207 
Pharisees,  the,  269 
Pharsalus,  Battle  of,  121 
Philemon,  76 
Philip  of  Macedon,  50,  54 
Philip  the  Arabian,  bust  of,  292 
Philippi,  Battles  of,  128 
Philistine  coast  towns,  205 
Philistinism  in  Roman  art,  246 
Philo  Judaeus,  290,  300 
Philomela,  241 
Philosophy,  139,  279,  286,  290,  299, 


Phrebe,  230 
Phraates,  198,  200 
Phrygian  corybants,  139 
Piacenza,  53 
Piazza.,  252 
Piety,  235 
Pilate,  Pontius,  206 
Pile-dwellings,  14 
Pilum,  the,  98 
Piracy,  59,  106,  108 
Pisidia,  193 
Piso  C.  Calpurnius,  80 
Piso  (consul  with  Augustus),  1 74 
Placidia,  Empress,  315 
Plague,  the,  290,  307 
Plantation  system  of  slaves,  7 1 
Platsea,  201 

Plautius  Silvanus,  Aulus,  259 
Plautus,  76,  77,  138 
Plebeians,  14,  25,  30,  43 
Plebiscite,  the,  174,  179 
Plebs,  secession  of  the,  30 
Pliny   (the   elder)  and  Etruscan  art, 

20;  art  critic,  249;  as  compiler, 

Pliny  (the  younger),  history  in,  195, 
278  ;  and  the  emperors,  242  ;  con- 
dition of  Italy,  196;  letters,  270; 
benevolence,  283 ;  and  schools, 
286  ;  and  reading,  287  ;  and  tolera- 
tion, 301 

Plutarch,  290 

Poetry  of  the  Republic,  142  ;  of  the 
Augustan  age,  233-243 ;  of  the 
Empire,  288-289 

Polemo,  200 

Police,  182,  1 86 

Political  system,  reform  of,  and  the 
Gracchi,  89 

Pollio,  Asinius,  160,  168,  232,  234 

Polybius,  66,  150 

Polycarp,  300 

Polygnotus,  296 

Pompeian  law,  120 

Pompeii,  134,  195,  283,  285,  296, 

Pompeius,  Gneius,  the  Great,  and  new 
provinces,  60 ;  and  the  monarchy, 
100  ;  supporter  of  Sulla,  105,  108  ; 
ally  of  Crassus,  108  ;  ruler  of  the 
sea,  109;  puts  down  piracy,  109; 
defeats  Mithradates,  1 09 ;  and 
Caesar,  114,  119;  political  in- 
capacity, 1 1 8  ;  sole  consul,  119] 
flies  before  Caesar,  121;  murdered 
122;  and  the  walls  of  Jerusalem, 
123;  his  wealth,  132;  Vergil  and, 

Pompeius,  Sextus,  a  pirate,  123; 
joined  by  "patriots,"  128;  defeat 
of,  129;  his  allies  against  Augustus, 
164  ;  and  Sicily,  209;  reconciliation 
with  Augustus,  226 

Pomponius  Mela,  290 

Pont  du  Card,  294 

Pontifex  mctximus,  32.     See  also  Caesar 

Pontus,  60,  193,  194,  200,  312 

Poor  children,  Pliny's  benefaction  for, 

Pope,  the,  315 

Population,  decline  of,  313 

Populus  Romanus,  174,  177,  179 



Pork,  free,  308 

Portraiture,  Etruscan,  152  ;  dread  of, 
156;  under  the  Republic,  156- 
157;  under  Augustus,  248-250; 
under  the  Empire,  292 

Portugal,  221 

Portus  Julius,  187 

Post,  196 

Postumus,  306 

Pottery,  Etruscan,  20;  Gallic,  114; 
Aretine,  159 

"  Prsefects,  Praetorian,"  312 

Praeneste,  251,  296 

Prcetor  peregrinus,  298 

Prcetor  urbanus,  298 

Praetorian  guard,  the,  Augustus  and, 
172  ;  dominates  politics,  175  ; 
commanded  by  prefects,  182;  its 
strength,  182, 185;  murder  Caligula 
and  choose  Claudius,  271;  choose 
Nero,  272  ;  and  the  succession, 
273>  3°6 ;  Vespasian  and,  274; 
lawyers  as  prefects,  309 

Praetorium,  206 

Praetors,   30,    31,   41,  63,    181,    182, 

193.  299 

Prasina  Fractio,  280 
Praxiteles,  155 
Prefects,  of  the    Fleet,   187  ;    of  the 

City,  182;   of  the  Guard,  182;  of 

Egypt,  203,  204 
President  of  the  state,  134 
Press  censorship,  163,  289 
Prices,  Edict  of,  310 
Priests,  colleges  of,  32  ;  and  the  law, 

41  ;  and  dining,  133  ;  High  Priests, 


Primus,  M.,  177 
"  Princeps,"  171  ;  origin  of  the  princi- 

pate,  177;  Augustus  and  the  office, 


"Princes,"  124 
"  Princes  of  the  Youth,"  181 
Principate,  the,  177,  270 
Principes,  the,  29 
Priscus,  Helvidius,  300 
Prisoners,  Roman,  as  slaves,  197 
Probus,  179,  308 
Proconsuls,  193 


Procurators,  194 

Proletariat,  the,  132.    See  also  Populus 

Propertius  and  the  Parthians,  199; 
and  Maecenas,  233;  as  poet,  239- 
240;  loss  of  patrimony,  243 

Property-tax,  189;  in  Gaul,  190 

Propraetors,  194 

Provence,  210 

Provinces,  early,  58;  acquisition  and 
government,  59-65;  local  autonomy, 
61  ;  corruption,  64  ;  self-supporting 
and  profitable,  188;  taxes,  190;  of 
the  Roman  world,  193  ;  under  the 
senate,  193  ;  Caesar's  provinces, 
193;  lists  of  provinces,  193-194; 
under  Diocletian,  312.  See  also  the 
names  of  provinces  as  Spain,  Gaul, 

Provincia,  59 

Prudishness,  80 

Ptolemy,  alliance  with,  47 

"  Publican  and  sinner,"  64 

Publicans  (Publicanf),  64,  207 

Punic  War,  First,  48  ;  Second,  49  ; 
Third,  57 

Pupienus,  306 

Puteoli,  134 

Pyrrhic  War,  44 

Pyrrhus,  45,  5 1 

QILESTORS,  66,  133,  1 88 
Quintilian,  220,  290 
Quintus  Curtius,  33 
Quintus  Fabius,  51 

"RACE-SUICIDE,"   138 

Raphael,  244 

Rates,  196 

Raudine  Plain,  94 

Ravenna,  187,  315 

Reading,  287 

Realism  in  Roman  art,  157,  248,  249 

Red  Sea,  204 

Regensburg,  264 

Religion,  early  Roman,  32,  35  ;  and 
Greek  mythology,  35,  39;  gods,  36 
ef  seq. ;  its  nature,  39 ;  business 
nature  of,  40;  becomes  cosmopolitan 
and  debased,  79;  State  religion 


under  the  Republic,  133  ;  formal 
and  political,  138;  formulae,  139; 
materialism  and  the  State  religion, 
139;  superstition  and  rites,  139; 
Augustus  and,  201 ;  of  Gaul,  211; 
and  art,  248 ;  and  architecture,  251 ; 
Claudius  and,  272  ;  in  schools,  286  ; 
and  international  law,  298;  under 
the  Empire,  299;  Christianity,  299 

Religions,  conflict  of,  299 

Religious  liberty  under  Trajan,  301 

Remi,  the,  212 

Renaissance,  Roman  art  and  the,  244, 


Republic,  the,  causes  for  its  end, 

Republican  civilisation,  later,  130 

Republican  constitution,  31 

Republicanism,  Diocletian  and,  3 1 1 

Revenue,  public,  192 

Rex,  125 

Rhaetia,  194,  220 

Rhaetian  limes,  264 

Rheims,  210,  212 

"  Rhetoric,"  286 

Rhine,  the,  Caesar's  expeditions,  117; 
flotillas,  187  ;  Augustus  crosses, 
212,  216;  as  frontier,  215,  218, 
263;  Rhine  legions,  219,  263; 
Limes  Trans-Rhenanus,  264;  inva- 
sions of  barbarians,  306,  314 

Rhodes,  55,  132,  194,  247 

Rich  and  poor  under  the  Republic, 

Ricimer  the  Suevian,  314 

Ridgeway,  Prof.  Wm.,  2,  14 

Riegl,  Alois,  244 

Rimini,  196 

Roads,  Italy,  1 96 ;  France,  211;  im- 
perial, 278 

Robigus,  37 

Roman  Church,  ritual,  &c.  of  the, 
303  ;  a  legacy  of  Rome,  315 

Roman  conquests,  44  et  seq. 

Roman  Empire  under  Augustus, 
greatness  of  the,  221 

Roman  Government,  the,  and  Chris- 
tianity, 300-301 
Roman    history,    views    of,    3,  4,    5  ; 

historians  and,  4,  7,  8 ;  worthless- 
ness  of  much  early  history,  23  ; 
Greek  influence  in  manufacturing, 
24;  unreliability  of,  before  390  B.C., 
24;  chronological  summary,  317- 


Roman  Peace,  the,  61,  186 

Roman  society,  viciousness  of,  in  the 
age  of  conquest,  80 

Roman  suzerainty,  56;  annexations, 
56  ;  provinces,  58  ;  government,  61 

Roman  Wall,  the  (Britain),  261 

Romans,  origin  of  the,  1 3 ;  early 
Romans  as  warriors,  26  ;  conquests 
by,  28  ;  the  early  Romans,  32  ;  the 
Roman  character,  33,  43 ;  virtues, 
33  ;  accomplishments,  34  ;  religion, 
35;  agriculture,  36;  law,  41  ;  a 
fighting  people,  54 

"  Rome  and  Augustus,"  cult  of,  201 

Rome  and  Greece,  resemblances 
between,  i  ;  Greek  influence,  6,  7, 
1 1 .  See  also  Art,  Literature 

Rome,  and  the  making  of  Europe,  5  ; 
as  a  city-state,  6  ;  its  greatness,  10  ; 
origin  of,  16  ;  under  the  Etruscans, 
17;  Etruscan  princes  expelled,  23  ; 
and  the  Latin  plain,  12  ;  and  the 
control  of  the  Mediterranean,  1 3  ; 
the  Seven  Kings  of,  19;  legends  and 
early  traditions,  1 7 ;  the  earliest  city, 
25  ;  political  equality,  30  ;  constitu- 
tion, 30  ;  the  imperial  city,  65  ; 
wealth,  65  ;  taxation,  66  ;  finance, 
66  ;  the  populace,  68  ;  corn-supply, 
69;  slavery,  70;  equality,  71 ;  luxury 
72  ;  civilisation,  72 ;  Greek  influence, 
73>  74)  81  j  causes  of  degeneracy, 
80;  individual  domination,  83;  end 
of  the  Republic,  1 1 8  ;  and  Caesar, 
123;  wealth  and  social  conditions 
under  the  Republic,  132;  unhealthy, 
135  ;  social  life,  136  ;  streets,  152  ; 
improvements  under  Augustus,  167; 
magistracy,  182;  city  prefect,  182; 
reform  of,  by  Augustus,  223  ;  re- 
generation of  Roman  society,  225, 
231 ;  patriotism,  231  ;  Horace  and, 
239;  and  art,  243;  rebuilding,  244, 



248  ;  architecture,  250  ;  the  weak- 
ness of  the  Empire,  271;  riches 
and  loss  of  power,  278;  life  of  the 
city  described  by  satirists,  278; 
imperial  Rome,  278;  amusements, 
279  ;  advanced  civilisation,  280  ;  its 
splendours,  280;  buildings  and 
peoples,  282  ;  as  a  place  of  abode, 
296 ;  the  Eternal  City,  304 ; 
Aurelian  Wall,  307 

Romulus  and  Remus,  17 

Romulus,  hut  of,  153 

Roofing,  250 

Roumania  (Dacia),  265 

Roxolani,  307 

Rubicon,  the,  120 

Russia,  197,  213, 


Saale,  the,  216 

Sabines,  13 

Sacred  Mount,  30 

Sacred  Way,  282 

Sacrifices,  human,  40,  2 1 1 

Sadducees,  269 

Saguntum,  49 

St.  Angelo,  Castle  of,  294 

St.  Bernard  Pass,  220 

Saints,  Christian,  304 

Salamis,  201 

Salaries  of  officials,  190 

Salii,  34,  39 

Salinator,  M.  Livius,  74 

Sallust,  150 

Salt,  free,  308 

Saltus,  Teutoburgiensis,  218 

Salvage  brigade,  131 

Samaria,  205 

Samnite  Wars,  13,  28,  44;  rebellion, 


Sanhedrin,  207 
Saracens,  307 
Saragossa,  221 
Sarcophagi,  247 
Sardinia,  48,  53,  59,  6 1,  193 
Sarmatia,   province,    309 ;    Sarmatian 

cavalry,    266 ;    captive  Sarmatians, 

Sarmatians,  the,  and  Ovid,  243 


Sarmizegethusa,  266 

Satires,  237 

Saturn,  38;  Temple  of,  251 

Saturninus,  95 

Saxons,  213,  309 

Scaevola,  33,  84 

Scapula,  Ostorius,  260 

Scaurus,  91,  92,  94 

Sceptre  of  ivory,  the,  2  2 

Schoolmasters,  286 

Schools.     See  Education 

Scipio  Africanus,  52,  53,  58 

Scipios,  the,  76,  83,  123 

Scopas,  155,  250 

Scotland,  261 

Scribonia,  226,  227 

Sculpture  of  the  Republic,  155-157; 
revival  of,  200 ;  the  Greeks  and 
Roman  sculpture,  245  ;  copies  and 
imitations,  291;  busts,  292;  bas- 
reliefs,  292  ;  narrative  on  columns, 

Sea-power,  the  Romans  and,  187 

Sebaste  (Samaria),  205 

Secession  of  the  Plebs,  the,  30 

Secular  games,  238 

Sejanus,  271 

Semitic  question,  the,  268 

Sena,  victory  of,  75 

Senate,  the,  beginnings,  25  ;  wisdom 
of,  28;  its  constitution,  31;  and 
Pyrrhus,  46 ;  aristocracy  and  govern- 
ment, 72  ;  weakness  under  late  Re- 
public, 82 ;  the  Gracchi  and,  86, 
89,  90 ;  and  the  Jugurthan  War, 
91  ;  and  Marius,  95  ;  under  Augus- 
tus, 167,  169,  175-179,  224; 
position  and  powers  under  the 
Empire,  179;  military  affairs,  184; 
under  Vespasian,  274  ;  under  Domi 
tian  and  later  emperors,  275;  sup- 
planted by  Diocletian,  312 

Senators  forbidden  foreign  commerce, 
67,  132;  as  landowners,  67,  132; 
flee  from  Cassar,  121;  tax  farmers, 
132  ;  hereditary,  132,  134 

Seneca  the  younger  and  Nero,  272, 
290,  291 ;  ethics  of,  303 

Senecas,  the,  Spaniards,  220,  290 


Senones,  the,  212 

Sens,  212 

Serapis,  139 

Sergi,  G.,  on  the  Mediterranean  race, 

Sertorius,  105,  107 

Sestertius,  34 

Severi,  the,  311 

Severus,  Alexander,  306,  311 

Severus,  Septimius,  306 

Seviri,  Augustales,  196 

Shakespeare  and  Caesar,  112 

Shapur,  the  Persian  King,  306 

Sheep,  36,  70 

Shepherds,  71 

Ships,  131 

Shophets,  49 

Shows,  public,  137 

Sicily,  Pyrrhus  and,  46 ;  the  Romans 
and,  47,  51,  52;  acquisition  of,  59, 
60,  61;  corn-supply  of,  190;  a 
province,  193;  colonies  in,  195  ;  its 
history,  208—209 

Sidon,  247 

Sienckiewicz,  Henryk,  279 

Siesta,  the,  136 

Silanus,  94 

Silius,  255 

Silius  Italicus,  287,  288 

Silures,  the,  260 

Silver  coinage,  34,  154 

Sirmio,  143,  296 

Slavery  of  early  Rome,  70  ;  and 
immorality,  79  ;  Roman  society  and, 

Slaves,  Sardinian,  53 ;  risings  among, 
1 06;  Gallic  conquest  and,  117; 
training  and  use  of,  131;  under 
Augustus,  181  ;  body-guard,  182, 
184;  and  the  fleet,  187;  tax  on 
sales,  190;  Greek  slaves  and  art, 

Slavs,  214 

Social  conditions  under  the  Republic, 


Social  laws,  226 
Social  war,  102 

Society  under  the  Republic,  132  ; 
regeneration  of,  by  Augustus,  225; 

under  the  Empire,  279;  grades  of, 

Soldiers.     See  Army 

Soldiers,  tribune  of  the,  133 

Solon,  19 

Solon's  code,  42 

Soudan,  the,  204,  205 

Spain,  Hamilcar  Barca  and,  49  ; 
Roman  army  in,  51;  Scipio  re- 
conquers, 5  2  ;  ceded  by  Carthage, 
53  ;  a  province,  59  ;  incessant 
warfare,  61  ;  defeat  of  Sertorius, 
105,  107  ;  Caesar  and,  121  ;  Augus- 
tus and,  169,  172,  193;  civilised, 
209  ;  Augustus  and  an  outbreak  in, 
210;  under  Augustus,  220-221; 
diocese,  312;  the  Vandals  and, 

Spalato,  316 

Spanish   army,  revolt   of  the,  against 

Nero,  258 
Sparta,.  1  94,  201 
Spartacus  the  gladiator,  106 
Statius,  288 

Statues,  243,  291  ;  portraits,  156 
Stephanus,  156,  249 
Sternness,  early  Roman,  33 
"Stipendiary  "  states,  60 
Stirlingshire,  262 
Stoic  republicanism,  123,  275 
Stoicism,  139,  207,  231,  300,  302 
Strabo,  195,  202,  290 
Strong,  Mrs.  A.,  and  Roman  art,  157, 

244,  292,  294 
"Structor,"  137 
Strzygowski,  Josef,  249 
Suabia,  216 

Succession,  imperial,  229,  254 
Suetonius  and  the  early  Empire,  4  ;  on 

Caesar,  1  1  3  ;  as  historian,  162,275; 

and  the  cowardice  of  Augustus,  182; 

quoted  on  military  science,  184;  on 

the    tastes  of    Augustus,   252  ;    on 

Nero,    256,    259;    studious,    287; 

freedom  allowed  to,  289 
Suevi,  the,  215,  307,  309 
Sulla,  L.  Cornelius,  makes   Cisalpine 

Gaul    a   province,    59  :    officer    to 

Marius,  93  ;  succeeds  Marius,  101  ; 



his  character,  i  o  i  ;  master  of  Rome, 
103,  105 ;  and  the  Mithradatic 
War,  1 04  ;  returns  to  Rome  and 
defeats  the  Samnites,  105  ;  death, 
105;  and  the  columns  of  the  Temple 
of  Olympian  Zeus,  153;  failure  of, 

Sulla,  Faustus,  123 

Sulpicius,  Rufus,  1 03 

Sumptuary  laws,  226 

Sungod,  the,  295,  306 

Surrentum,  251 

Swabians,  213 

Switzerland,  220 

Sword,  the  Roman,  98 

Sygambri,  216 

Syracuse,  209 

Syria,  60,  169,  200,  267,    273 

Syrian  War,  65 

TABULARIUM,  the,  153 

Tacitus  and  the  imperial  regime,  4,11, 
242,  273  ;  and  Augustus,  162,  163, 
187;  and  the  Senate,  179;  the 
Gertnania,  214;  and  Livia,  228; 
and  historians,  253;  and  Britain, 
260;  the  satire  of,  275;  the  "silver 
Latin"  of,  287  ;  and  the  history  of 
his  own  times,  288  ;  as  prose  writer 
and  historian,  289,  290 

Tacitus,  Claudius  (Emperor),  308 

Tanagra,  201 

Tarentum,  45 

Tarquin,  24 

Tarquins,  the,  19 

Tarraco,  221 

Tarraconensis,  221 

Tarshish,  49 

Tartars,  214,  309 

Tax -farming,  132,  191 

Tax-gatherers,  191 

Taxes  (stipendium)  from  provincial  terri- 
tories, 64  ;  freedom  from  (tributum), 
1 88,  189;  in  kind,  190;  indirect, 
196;  under  the  Empire,  270,  276  ; 
collection  of,  273 ;  increase  of,  31 1  ; 
exemption  of  certain  classes,  311; 
Constantine's  burden  of,  313 

Teachers,  286 


"  Tellus  Group,"  the,  244,  250 

Temple,  the,  Jerusalem,  268 

Temples,  67,  152,  166,  168,  196,  243, 
250,  251,  280,  282,  294 

Temples  to  Augustus,  201 

Tenth  Legion,  the,  123,  150,  269 

Terence,  76,  77,  138 

Terentia,  138 

Terentius  Lucanus,  senator,  76 

Terminus,  37 

Terra-cotta  ornaments,  Etruscan,  21, 

"  Terramare  "  civilisation,  14 

Tertullian,  316 

Tetricus,  308 

Teutonic  and  Latin  races,  contrast 
between,  213,  214.  See  also 

Teutons,  the,  invasion  by,  93 ;  de- 
feated by  Marius,  94 

Thamugadi,  283 

Thapsus,  123 

Theatre  of  Marcellus,  2  5 1 

Theatres,  75 

Theatrical  performances,  137 

Thebes,  202 

Theocritus,  144,  233 

Theodosius,  313 

Thespise,  201 

Thessalonica,  202 

Third  Legion,  283 

Thrace,  194,  197,  312 

Thrasea,  Pstus,  273,  300 

Thurii,  106 

Thusnelda,  219 

Tiber,  the  River,  1 2  ;  and  navigation, 
17,  187  ;  offerings  to  the,  40 

Tiberius,  Suetonius  on,  162,  306;  in 
the    triumph    of    Augustus,    166; 
suppresses      the     comitia,       174  ; 
nominated    to    succeed    Augustus, 
175,   229;    as  general,   184;  over- 
lord in  Asia,   195;  and  Germany 
216,  263;  his  mother  Livia,  227 
banishment,     228;      rivals,     228 
triumphs,    239  ;    character,    253 
and    enlargement   of    the    Empire 
2 59  >  government,  271  ;  retirement 
271  ;  and  "delation,"  272  ;  junior 


colleague  to  Augustus,  276 ;  tyranny, 
271,287;  classic  tendencies  of  his 
reign,  293 

Tibullus,  233,  239-240,  243 

Tibur,  251 

Ticino,  51 

Tigellinus,  272,  273 

Tigris,  the,  267 

Timgad,  283 

Tiridates,  198 

Tithes,  6 1,  191 

Titus,  268,  274,  277 

Titus,  arch  of,  269,  282,  293;  baths 
of,  293 

Tivoli,  296 

Toga,  the,  21,  230,  261 

Tomi,  242 

Torcello,  mosaics  of,  316 

Trade  and  the  rise  of  Rome,  17;  the 
sea  and,  1 96  ;  fluctuation  forbidden, 

Trajan  a  Spaniard,  220 ;  continues  the 
Rhaetian  limes,  264  ;  and  the  Dacian 
Wars,  265,  266;  and  the  Eastern 
provinces,  267;  campaigns  in  person, 
270;  industrious,  270;  soldierly 
qualities,  271,  275;  becomes  Em- 
peror, 275;  and  the  senate,  275; 
Rome  under,  279  ;  Timgad  founded 
by,  283  ;  and  Pliny,  287  ;  freedom 
of  letters  under,  289  ;  art  under, 
2  93  >  government  as  shown  in  his 
correspondence  with  Pliny,  301 

Trajan's  column,  245,  248,  249,  266, 


Trasimene,  Lake,  51 
Treason,  272 
Trebia,  51 
"Treks,"  214 
Treveri,  the,  215 
Treverorum,  Augusta.     See  Trier 
Triballia,  194 
Tribes,  30 

Tribunes,  the,  30,  31,  90,  125,  181 
Tribute,  191,  260;  on  Gaul,  212 
"  Tricliniarch,"  137 
Tridentum  (Trent),  220 
Trier,  210,  215,  263,  282 
Triumph,  the,  183 

Triumphal  arch,  the,  154 

Triumphal  Road,  280 

Trumpets,  36 

Tullius,  Servius,  19 

Tullus  Hostilius,  16 

Tunisian  coast  islands,  208 

Turin,  196,  220 

Tusculum,   134 

Twelve  Tables,  the,  24,  42,  297,  299 

Tyranny,  287,  288 

Tyrol,  Austrian,  197 

UBII,  the,  215 
Umbrians,  13,  28 
University  professors,  286 
Usury,  laws  against,  103 
Utica,  123 


Valerius,  33 

Valerius  Asiaticus,  255 

Vandals,  213,  307,  309,  314 

Varius,  232,  233 

Varro,  51,  138 

Varus,  Quintilius,  defeat  of,  184,  217, 
218,  230;  legate  of  Syria,  206 

Vases,  159 

Vault,  the,  153 

Vehicles,  196 

Velleius,  217,  218 

Venatio,  279 

Venus  and  Rome,  Temple  of,  282 

Venus,  Augustus  descended  from,  224 ; 
temple  to,  166 

Venus  Genetrix,  by  Arcesilaus,  156, 

Venus,  Medici,  156 

Venus,  Paphian,  39 

Ver  Sacrum,  40 

Vercingetorix,  1 1 6 

Vergil,  Latinity  of,  9 ;  "  Messianic 
Eclogue,"  1 60;  and  the  Portus 
Julius,  187  ;  and  the  Parthians,  199  ; 
and  Augustus,  225,  234;  and  the 
Augustan  age,  231,  232;  and  cen- 
sorship, 233;  and  Atticus,  233; 
birth  and  education,  233;  and 
Maecenas,  234;  Bucolics,  233; 
Georgics,  234;  sEneid,  235-236; 



and  Rome,  235-236 ;  loss  of 
patrimony,  236,  243;  position,  288  ; 
and  epic  poetry,  288 

Verres,  209 

Verulamium,  260 

Vespasian  and  press  censorship,  163; 
in  Britain,  259;  and  Germany, 
264;  and  Mo2sia,  265;  subdues 
Palestine,  268;  becomes  Caesar, 
274  ;  origin,  274  ;  government,  274  ; 
Rome  under,  279;  and  Pliny  the 
elder,  287  ;  art  under,  293 

Vesta,  38  ;  Temple  of,  152 

Vestals,  state,  38 

Vetera  Castra  (Xanten),  216,  219, 

Via  Appia.    See  Appian  Way 

Via  Claudia,  263 

Vicars,  312 

Vice,  133,  138 

Villa  Albani,  293 

"  Villanova  "  period,  1 4 

Villas,  251,  295 

Viminacium,  266 

Vindex,  257,  262 

Vipsania,  227 

Virginia,  33 

Viriathus,  84 

Virtue,  Roman,  33,  80 

Visigoths,  314 

Vitellius,  262,  273,  289 

Vitruvius,  290 

Voluptas,  139 

Vopiscus,  307 

WALES,  260 

Walls,  Roman,  261,  262 

War  and  culture,  73 

Warfare,  annals  of,  in  history,  306 

Watchmen,  186 

Wax  images,  156,  248 

Wealth  under  the  Republic,  1  3  1 

Weser,  the,  216,  219 

Wickhoff,  Franz,  and  Roman  art,  157, 

244,  293 

Wiesbaden  (Aquae  Mattiacae),  264 
Wine,  136 
Wolf,  the,  as  totem,  1  9  ;  the  mother 

wolf,  38 
Women,  influence  of,  223;  wickedness 

of,  under  the  Empire,  254 
World-state,  the,  278,  308 
Worth,  264 

XANTEN.     See  Vetera  Castra 
YORK,  261 

S,  207 
Zama,  53 
Zealots,  the,  268 
Zela,  123 

Zeno  the  Stoic,  300 
Zenobia,  Queen,  306,  307,  308 
Zeus,  Olympian,  Temple  of,  153 
Zeuxis,  296 

Zion,  Temple  of  Jupiter  on,  269 
Zuyder  Zee  canal,  216 








Stobart,  John  Clarke 

The  grandeur  that  was  Rome.